Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sexually Transmitted Diseases at Record High Levels in U.S.

Left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in . . . a condition that causes as many as 50,000 U.S. women to become infertile each year . . .

-- From "U.S. Chlamydia Infections Hit All-Time High" by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay News Reporter 1/13/09

The number of Americans newly infected with the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia and syphilis continues to rise, federal health officials reported Tuesday, with chlamydia infections hitting a record million-plus new cases annually.

"The bad news from last year has continued," said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., director of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention. "These infections remain at very high levels, and frankly, unacceptably high."

But these numbers are probably just the tip of the iceberg, Douglas noted. The CDC estimates that only half of all new chlamydia and gonorrhea infections are reported, bringing the actual number of infected people to more than 3 million.

The report found continued racial disparities for STD cases. Gonorrhea was 19 times more common among blacks than whites; chlamydia was eight times more common; and syphilis was seven times more common, Douglas said.

The report also found continued increases in rates of syphilis. On the verge of elimination just a decade ago, syphilis rates began increasing in 2001 and rose 15.2 percent between 2006 and 2007, Douglas said.

"We got set back in a recurrence of syphilis among men who have sex with men," Douglas said.

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