-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The approximately 19 million
new sexually transmitted disease (STD) infections that occur each
year in the United States cost the health care system about $16.4
billion annually, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said in its annual STD report released Monday.
The data for 2009 shows a continued high burden of STDs but
there are some signs of progress, according to the report, which
focuses on chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
The national rate of reported gonorrhea cases stands at 99 cases
per 100,000 people, its lowest level since record keeping started
in 1941, and cases are declining among all racial/ethnic groups
(down 17 percent since 2006).
Since 2006, chlamydia infections have increased 19 percent to
about 409 per 100,000 people. However, the report suggests that
this indicates more people than ever are being screened for
chlamydia, which is one of the most common STDs in the United
For the first time in five years, the syphilis rate among women
did not increase in fact, it fell by 7 percent. Between 2004 and
2008, the syphilis rate among women had increased by 88 percent.
The report also found that cases of syphilis transmitted from a
mother to child did not increase for the first time in four
The overall syphilis rate in the United States last year was 4.6
per 100,000 people.
While those trends are encouraging, STD rates among some racial
and ethnic minority groups are much higher than among whites, the
CDC said. Young blacks are especially at risk. Poverty and lack of
access to health care are among the reasons for these racial
disparities, the CDC says.
Regardless of race or gender, adolescents and young adults
remain at greater risk for STD infections than older adults.
STD screening can help detect disease early and, combined with
treatment, is one of the most effective ways to protect a person's
health and prevent STD transmission to other people. But less than
half of people who should be screened get tested for STDs, the CDC
Untreated STD infections can increase the risk of HIV infection
and other health problems such as infertility and brain,
cardiovascular and organ damage.
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development has more about
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