Reported cases of Chlamydia and gonorrhea in the United States exceeded 1.4 million in 2007, according to an annual report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These diseases continue to be the most commonly reported infectious diseases in the nation and pose persistent and preventable threats to fertility in the United States.
The report, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2007, shows persistent racial disparities across these and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and a particularly heavy burden of disease among women. The report also finds continued increases in syphilis. This disease, while once on the verge of elimination, began re-emerging as a threat in 2001 and increased 15.2 percent between 2006 and 2007.
Last modified on Friday, 13 February 2009 14:46
â€œThe widespread occurrence of these diseases should serve as a stark reminder that STDs remain a serious health threat in the United States, especially for women and racial and ethnic minorities,â€ said John M. Douglas, Jr., M.D., director of CDCâ€™s Division of STD Prevention. â€œLeft untreated, Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility, affecting a womanâ€™s chance to bear children later in life. Such a severe consequence is entirely avoidable; if, as a nation, we work together to increase the uses of proven prevention tools and make them widely available to those who need them.â€
CDCâ€™s 2007 STD surveillance report also indicates ongoing racial disparities in the three most common reportable STDs, with African Americans bearing the greatest burden. While representing 12 percent of the U.S. population, Blacks had about 70 percent of reported gonorrhea cases and almost half of all Chlamydia and syphilis cases (48 percent and 46 percent respectively) in 2007.
STDs take an especially heavy toll on Black women 15 to 19 years of age, who account for the highest rates of both Chlamydia (9,646.7 per 100,000 populations) and gonorrhea (2,955.7 per 100,000 populations) of any group. STDs in this age group are of particular concern because of the potential threat of these two diseases to a womanâ€™s fertility.
Studies have shown that one of the most important social determinants of sexual health is socioeconomic status. Higher rates of poverty among Blacks than Whites and socioeconomic barriers to quality healthcare and STD prevention and treatment services have been associated with higher prevalence and incidence of STDs among racial and ethnic minorities.
â€œThe racial disparities in rates of STDs are among the worst health disparities in the nation for any health condition,â€ Douglas said. â€œWe must intensify efforts to reach these communities with needed screening and treatment services. Testing and the knowledge of infection is a critical first step toward reducing the continued consequences of these diseases.â€
The full report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats07/