Press Room

ASTHO Statement on Rise in National Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates 

ARLINGTON, VA (Aug. 28, 2018)—Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), issued the following statement in response to new preliminary findings released today from CDC indicating that the United States is seeing a significant increase in STD rates.

“We’re facing new and reemerging challenges as the nation’s STD rate continues to rise. Public health officials are particularly concerned with the resurgence of syphilis—including congenital syphilis—and the emerging threat of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. State health agencies are working hard on the frontlines to fight rising rates of infection through STD prevention strategies with limited resources. We know for a fact that these strategies work and are effective.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the right level of investment in this space—and the record STD rates are a testament to that fact. Federal resources account for nearly half of all state and territorial health department funding. But in the past 15 years, STD prevention funding at CDC has decreased by $21 million. This translates into less resources for state and territorial health agencies to carry out their critical work in STD prevention.

Health agencies across the United States are committed to working in collaboration with national partners like CDC, healthcare providers, and community stakeholders to find integrated solutions in stemming the tide of rising STD rates. If we are to avoid the overwhelming costs—both health and economic—of these preventable infections, investing in state and territorial health agencies is essential.”

For more information and resources for combating STDs, visit


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.