Since 2000, sexually transmitted infections in the US have more than doubled while at the same time, federal funding for STI prevention and care fell 40%
AHF is calling on policy and health officials to restore and increase funding, and supports the National Coalition of STD Directors’ call for $273M for the CDC’s STD Prevention Division as well as establishment of a separate $500M funding stream for the nation’s STD specialty clinics
In response to alarming news of record rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) across the US over the past two decades timed with corresponding steep government funding cuts, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today is calling for the restoration of, and vastly increased federal funding to support innovative new STD prevention, testing and treatment programs and approaches. AHF is also in support of a call by the National Coalition of STD Directors for $273 million in federal funding for the CDC’s STD Prevention Division as well as establishment of a separate $500 million funding stream for the nation’s STD specialty clinics.
Recent reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) document the dramatic increase in infections:
The number of STIs has more than doubled since 2000, from 1.1 million to 2.4 million in 2018 .
At the same time, federal funding for STIs has decreased 40% .
Worse, the CDC estimates that the STIs acquired in a single year cost the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion .
“Over the past year and throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has learned the heartbreaking lesson of just how critical public health infrastructure is,” said Whitney Engeran Cordova, senior director of AHF’s Public Health Division. “Funding, coordination and emphasis on our collective health is now—and should remain—front and center. Sexually transmitted diseases have been ignored for too long, with devastating consequences. Health departments are shrinking, community clinics are closing, contact tracing is dwindling, and sexual health education is minimal. We join NASEM and NCSD and call on legislators to support innovative approaches to STI prevention, testing, and treatment services.”
“How many times do the bells have to be rung? If we do not double our investment in STI prevention we will not only lose control of this epidemic, but we will also compound the crisis further,” said Adam Sukhija-Cohen, PhD, MPH, director of advocacy and policy research at AHF’s Public Health Division Research. “We are now also sadly seeing a rise of infections resistant to our only available treatments  as well as recent reports of disseminated gonococcal infection due to untreated gonorrhea , and new STIs like Mycoplasma genitalium .”
The National Coalition of STD Directors responded to the recent NASEM report by calling on Congress to “increase funding (to $272.9 million) to the Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and to establish a $500 million funding stream to sustain the nation’s specialty STD clinics.”
AHF supports NCSD in these efforts and the funding request numbers they cite.
 Based on the number of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis cases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2018. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats18/STDSurveillance2018-full-report.pdf
 National Coalition of STD Directors. (28 August 2018). STDs Hit Record Highs Again, Threatening Millions of American Lives. Available online: https://www.ncsddc.org/stds-hit-record-highs-again-threatening-millions-of-american-lives/
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (21 January 2021). Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevalence, Incidence, and Cost Estimates in the United States. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/prevalence-2020-at-a-glance.htm
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (December 2020). Addressing the Threat of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea. CDC Fact Sheet. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/factsheets/drug-resistant-gonorrhea.pdf
 Los Angeles County Health Alert Network. (22 February 2021). CDPH Information: Increasing Disseminated Gonococcal Infections in California – Resources including a webinar on 2/23/21. Available online: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/lahan/alerts/CDPHDGI022221.pdf
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (4 June 2015). Emerging Issues. Mycoplasma genitalium. 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/emerging.htm
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
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Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF
John Hassell, National Director of Advocacy, AHF