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The rising tide of STDs in 2010

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A significant amount of progress has been in battling sexually transmitted infections in recent years. Fewer people now receive positive STD tests for conditions like HIV. However, some troubling trends persist. Rates of other infections like chlamydia remain high and, in some cases, are increasing.

For example, recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the number of people living with syphilis increased in 2010 after several years of making progress against the infection. State health departments across the country reported 45,834 cases.

Similarly, rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia increased in 2010. There were 8,167 more people living with gonorrhea in 2010 and 63,713 more people living with chlamydia. The figures indicate that progress fighting these common infections made in recent years was largely lost in 2010.

How do the states stack up?

Alaska, Mississippi and Louisiana had the high rates of chlamydia in 2010, according to the CDC data. Cases in Alaska topped out at 861.7 instances per 100,000 population. This was almost twice the average rate for the U.S., which was 426. These three states also had the three highest rates of gonorrhea in 2010.

Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire had the lowest rates of chlamydia, at 202.2, 196.2 and 185.9, respectively.

California, Texas and New York had the highest number of new chlamydia cases, though these states also have the highest populations in the U.S., which may account for why these states did not necessarily have the highest rates of infection. Still, New York and Texas ranked number nine and 11, respectively in overall chlamydia rates.

What's being done to fight the problem?

CDC officials called the problem of STDs "a hidden epidemic of enormous health and economic consequences." Despite the profound impact these diseases have on society, combating them has proven difficult, as it is always challenging to get people to change their behaviors that may contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Still, effective collaboration between the many stakeholders affected by the STD epidemic may play an important role in limiting the transmission of infections. No single agency can take full responsibility, but effective leadership may be the most powerful weapon against chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea.

The progress that was made in the early part of the previous decade proved that it is possible to limit the spread of infections and reduce the number of people receiving positive STD tests.

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