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CDC: Burden Of STDs Fall On Minorities

 WASHINGTON - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its annual report on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States.  The data, for 2009, show a continued high burden of STDs – particularly among African Americans – but also indicate some signs of progress.

 

The STD surveillance report includes data on the three STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – that physicians are required to report to CDC, which represent only a fraction of the true burden of STDs in the United States.  Some common STDs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital herpes, and not reported to CDC.  In total, CDC estimates that there are approximately 19 million new STD infections each year, which cost the U.S. healthcare system $16.4 billion annually.

 

Key Findings

 

Overall signs of progress:

·         The national rate of gonorrhea is at its lowest level on record (since 1941), and cases are declining among all racial/ethnic groups (down 15 percent among African Americans since 2006)

·         Continuing increases in the national chlamydia rate (up 19 percent since 2006) suggest that more people than ever are getting screened for chlamydia, one of the most widespread STDs in the United States

·         For the first time in five years, syphilis rates did not increase among women overall – a promising finding that follows an 88 percent increase in syphilis rates among women from 2004 to 2008

 

Yet large racial disparities remain:

·         African Americans make up just 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for approximately half of all chlamydia (48 percent) and syphilis (52 percent) cases and nearly three-quarters of gonorrhea (71 percent) cases in 2009

·         Reported syphilis cases among young back men (aged 15-24) have tripled since 2005 (from 19.3 to 58.2 cases per 100,000 people) – a concerning new trend

 

A range of factors contribute to these racial disparities, including poverty, lack of access to health care and an already high prevalence of STDs in communities of color that increases a person’s risk of infection with each sexual encounter.  

 

Untreated STDs increase a person’s risk for HIV and can cause other serious health consequences, such as infertility.  STD screening can help detect disease early and, when combined with treatment, is one of the most effective tools available to protect one’s health and prevent transmission to others.  Yet, less than half of people who should be screened are getting tested for STDs.


STORY TAGS: BLACK, AFRICAN AMERICAN, MINORITY, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, , RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY

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