STD Rates Increasing
Special Report - November 22, 2011
A new government report finds that the rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the country rose in 2010, especially among younger populations. The report, “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2010,” was released by the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month. It concentrated on the reported infections of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2010. The findings reveal that North Carolina’s rates of STD infection for the individual diseases considered rank as high as eighth in the nation, and never lower than 17th.
Disturbingly, the report notes, “that even though young people aged 15-24 years represent only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population, they acquire nearly half of all new STDs.” From 2009 to 2010, the adolescent rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea both increased, while the syphilis rate dropped slightly. An 11.9 percent prevalence rate of chlamydia among North Carolina’s 16-24-year-old women placed the state in the second highest tier for chlamydia rates among young women nationwide, while the corresponding male rate of 11.5 percent was in the highest tier. The state’s 2.8 percent gonorrhea rate among young women ranks in the highest tier nationally, while the male 1.5 percent rate is in the lower tier nationally.
In 2010, just over 1.3 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the CDCa more than five percent increase over the 2009 number. According to the report, “[t]his is the largest number of cases ever reported to the CDC for any condition.” It attributed the yearly increase in chlamydia rates since the late 1980s to “a continued increase in screening for this usually asymptomatic infection, expanded use of more sensitive tests, and more complete national reporting,” but went on to recognize that “it also may reflect a true increase in morbidity.” The report also found that the rate of chlamydia in women “was over two and half times the rate among men” in 2010. Still, the number of reported cases among men have been increasing at a faster pace than among women since 2006. North Carolina’s chlamydia rate of 448 cases per 100,000 population ranked 17th highest in the nation.
The gonorrhea rate, which had dropped 74 percent between 1975 and 1996, and saw its lowest rate in reported history between 2006 and 2009, rose 2.8 percent from 2009 to 2010. According to the report, “[i]n 2010, as in previous years, the South had the highest gonorrhea rate” in the country. Women reported a slightly higher rate of gonorrhea (106.5 cases per 100,000 women) than men (94.1 cases per 100,000 men). Among women, those aged 15-24 reported the highest rate of gonorrhea, and men aged 20-24 reported the highest rate among men. The rate of gonorrhea infection among “blacks was 18.7 times the rate in whites.” North Carolina’s gonorrhea rate of 150.4 cases per 100,000 population ranked 8th highest in the nation.
Of note, the overall syphilis rate decreased in 2010 “for the first time in 10 years.” Women saw a 21 percent decrease, while the rate among men ticked slightly upward by 1.3 percent. The report noted that “[a]lthough wide disparities exist in the rates of STDs among racial and ethnic groups, these disparities have decreased for syphilis over the past 10 years.” Still, since 2006, “syphilis rates increased 75 percent among black men aged 15-19 years and 134 percent among those aged 20-24 years. The 2010 rate among black men aged 15-19 years was 25 times the rate for white men of that age.” The rates among black women for the same age groups increased by 46 percent and 59 percent, respectively, while the 2010 “rates for black women aged 15-19 years were 38 times the rate for white women of the same age.” Finally, syphilis rates continue to rise for men-having-sex-with-men (MSM), especially young MSM. The report notes that “a number of individual-level risk behaviors (e.g., higher numbers of lifetime sex partners, higher rates of partner change and partner acquisition rates, and unprotected sex) significantly contribute to the ongoing disparities in the sexual health of MSM.” North Carolina’s primary and secondary syphilis rate of 4.2 per 100,000 population ranked 16th highest in the nation.
Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases Increase - November 26, 2010
Young Adults Consider STDs - May 14, 2010
STD Rate Much Higher for Homosexual Men - March 16, 2010
CDC Releases New STD Survey - November 19, 2009
Active Homosexual Men at Greater Risk for HIV - June 16, 2009
One in Four Teen Girls Infected - March 14, 2008
CDC Report Shows Increase in STDs - November 14, 2007
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