Doctors warn that STDs are on the rise in metro Atlanta

ATLANTA — Sexually-transmitted diseases are on the rise, and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the problem is only going to get worse.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was outside the CDC headquarters on Wednesday, where doctors said people who paused a lot of doctor visits during the pandemic are just now catching up on checkups and screenings.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Even regular check-ups though are not helping when it comes to one particular STD. Antibiotics that used to cure gonorrhea just aren’t working like they used to, so people who think they’re in the clear could still be spreading the disease.


Dr. Danny Branstetter is the director of infection prevention at Wellstar. He said that no matter how much public health officials warn people about protecting themselves during sex, they’re still not listening. That’s why the numbers for HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea have gone up.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

“We’re talking men, we’re talking women and unfortunately even transmission to babies,” Branstetter said. “So congenital syphilis for example is on the rise. And women who may not have been able to get screened during their pregnancy during the pandemic have now passed it on to their children.

Branstetter said that HIV cases are also up 16% because people aren’t as afraid of catching it now that there is advanced treatment. People aren’t using protection like they should, which is the only thing that keeps people disease-free.

“We still need to use barrier protections to prevent most of the other STIs, and I do find that an alarming trend that most people are goin away from that as compared to the early 90s when that was the primary method of prevention for those other STIs,” Branstetter said.

Now that monkeypox and COVID-19 are also in the mix, Branstetter said using protection is definitely the safest thing to do.