Reuters (11.17.11) - Friday, November 18, 2011
CDC's annual report on the three STDs reported to the agency -
syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea - shows young people and
minorities are disproportionately impacted.
"Despite everything we know about how to prevent and treat
STDs, they remain one of the more critical challenges in the
United States today," said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB
People ages 15 to 24 comprise just one-quarter of the sexually
experienced US population, though they represent nearly half
of new STD infections. "The data really confirms that STDs
primarily affect young people, and we know that this is of
major concern because the health consequences can and do last
a lifetime if they are untreated," said Fenton.
Gonorrhea increased slightly in 2010 with more than 300,000
cases, though reported rates of the STD remain at historically
low levels. In 2010, there were 1.3 million reported chlamydia
cases. Less than half of sexually active young women are
screened for chlamydia annually as recommended by CDC, the
The overall syphilis rate fell for the first time in a decade,
but the rate among young black men has increased 134 percent
in the past five years. Other CDC data show a significant
increase in syphilis among young black men who have sex with
men, suggesting that new infections among MSM are driving the
increase in young black men. CDC is especially concerned
because HIV infections also are rising among this population.
"It's not because someone is black or Hispanic or white that
results in the differences that we see in STDs," stressed
Fenton. "It's really what these represent in terms of
differences in health insurance coverage, employment status,
in ability to access preventive services or curative services.
These are all factors which are going to have a huge impact on
communities as well as individuals who are vulnerable to
acquiring STDs or not getting them diagnosed early," he said.
CDC said the 19 million new STD infections each year cost the
US health care system $17 billion annually. The report,
"Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2010," is
available at http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats10/default.htm.