From HealthDay News …
A startling increase in syphilis cases among Americans may be linked to addiction to methamphetamine and other drugs, federal health officials said Thursday.
Between 2013 and 2017, the rate of syphilis infection among heterosexual men and women who use methamphetamine more than doubled, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
“While we don’t know the precise role that substance use may play in syphilis increases, we do know that substance use, particularly methamphetamine and injection drug use, has been associated with sexual behaviors that increase risk of acquiring syphilis and other STDs,” said lead researcher Dr. Sarah Kidd. She is a medical officer in the CDC’s division of STD prevention.
It is the risky behaviors that tend to go along with drug use that make one vulnerable to STDs, Kidd noted. These include having multiple sex partners, practicing inconsistent condom use, and exchanging sex for drugs or money.
“We also know that substance use can hamper prevention efforts,” Kidd added. People who use drugs may be less inclined to seek health services, and they may also be reluctant or unable to identify or locate sex partners, which can cause delays in diagnosis and treatment, she said.