Chlamydia, Gonorrhea Cases Down But Syphilis Rates Up

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its annual fact sheet of the three reported sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

The fact sheet compiles 2013 data based on state and local STD reports. The data shows that majority of the case reports are documented in non-STD clinic settings, such as private physician offices and health maintenance organizations.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Chlamydia: 1,401,906 cases reported in 2013; for a rate of 446.6 per 100,000 people, slight decrease of 1.5% since 2012.
  • Gonorrhea: 333,004 cases reported in 2013; for a rate of 106.1 per 100,000 people, overall stable (0.6% decrease) since 2012.
  • Primary and Secondary Syphilis: 17,375 cases reported in 2013; for a rate of 5.5 per 100,000 people, an increase of 10% from 2012.

RELATED: Nearly 2 Million Women Infected with Chlamydia, But Many Unaware

The surveillance data showed that both numbers and rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia cases remained the highest in young people aged 15-24 compared to other age groups. In particular, young women with STDs were found to face the most serious long-term health consequences. Men who have sex with men (MSM) made up 75% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases; about half of MSM with syphilis were also infected with HIV.

The CDC recommends sexually active woman <25 years (or with risk factors) to request annual chlamydia and gonorrhea tests. Pregnant women should request syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B tests early in the pregnancy; gonorrhea testing should be requested if at risk. Sexually active men who are gay, bisexual, or have sex with men should request syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV tests at least once a year.

The CDC noted that this report reflects only a fraction of the true STD burden in the country due to many undiagnosed and unreported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Also, other STDs such as human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis are not regularly reported to the CDC.

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