From Our 2010 Archives
U.S. Gonorrhea Rate Drops; Chlamydia, Syphilis Up
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With 2.8 Million Cases per Year, Chlamydia Now Top STD in U.S.
By Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
About 2.8 million Americans get chlamydia each year, the CDC estimates. That's why the national health agency considers the 19% increase in reported cases since 2006 to be good news: It means more people are getting tested.
Perhaps the really good news in the annual report is that gonorrhea rates dropped to 99 cases per 100,000 Americans -- the lowest rate since the CDC started tracking the disease in 1945.
But syphilis cases continue to spiral upward:
The racial disparity seen with syphilis is also seen with chlamydia and gonorrhea:
"A range of factors contributes to these disparities, including poverty, lack of access to health care, and an already high prevalence of STDs in communities of color that increases a person's risk of infection with each sexual encounter," the CDC notes in a fact sheet accompanying the annual report.
Screening detects STDs before they cause permanent damage to the body -- and prevents further spread of infection. Yet fewer than half of people who should be screened do so. All sexually active people should get regular STD screening.
SOURCES: CDC: "Trends in Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States: 2009 National Data for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis." CDC Media Fact Sheet, November 2010.
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