East Valley Tribune (Tempe) (01.01.13)
Arizona has been able to place more emphasis on tracking STD cases with the help of a federal grant. The Infertility Prevention Project is part of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate and test for STDs. Carla Chee, office chief for the Office of Disease Integration Services in the state’s Department of Health Services, noted that this is the last year of the five-year grant. She explained that family clinics and community health centers nationwide are using the funding for testing, especially for chlamydia in women 25 years old and younger.
Arizona identified 28,170 cases of chlamydia through November 2012. This number is higher than the 26,831 cases reported for the same time in 2011. Both numbers are above the five-year median of 23,970 cases. The state is also targeting gonorrhea in the same population. By the end of December 2012, the annual count for gonorrhea cases was 5,316, compared to 4,101 in 2011. The five-year median is 3,210. Roxanne Ereth, manager of the state’s STD program explains that the majority of the cases experience no symptoms; therefore, people are not aware they have the disease and can be spreading it unknowingly. She noted that by finding the disease early, the state can help stop its transmission. Ereth credited some of the increase in testing to providers who are becoming more knowledgeable and the push by counties for physicians to test more for STDs.
According to the latest CDC report, more than 700,000 people in the United States are infected with gonorrhea each year and only about half of these infections are reported.
For more information, visit azdhs.gov/phs/oids/std/.