More cases of sexually transmitted diseases were reported last year than ever before, federal officials said Wednesday — just as state and local health departments that could help fight them lose funding.
More than 1.5 million people were reported with chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
The CDC recorded nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhea and nearly 24,000 cases of syphilis.
"The STD epidemic is getting worse in the United States and, in fact, is at its highest levels yet," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
The CDC reported a record year for STDs in 2014, also, but the trend is worsening, Mermin told NBC News.
"Last year was the first year that we saw increases but those increases are actually continuing and at a higher rate," Mermin said.
The new numbers translate to a 19 percent increase in syphilis cases, a 13 percent rise in gonorrhea and a 6 percent increase in chlamydia, Mermin said.
While some of the new numbers may be due to better reporting of cases, most of the rise appears to be a real increase in new infections, he said.