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CDC Report Reveals Troubling Trends in STD Rates

For Immediate Release                                           Contact Patrick Malone
January 14, 2009                                                    (212)819-9770 ext. 316
New York, NY– This week, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2007, a report documenting incidence and trends in three major sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The three diseases combined for a total of more than 1.4 million new infections in 2007, and further analysis shows that the populations affected most by these diseases include young people, minorities and members of traditionally underserved communities, and women.
There were more than 1.1 million cases of Chlamydia reported in 2007, which represents the largest number of cases ever reported to the CDC for any condition. Chlamydia rates have risen steadily since the late 1980s. While Chlamydia is a very treatable disease, it can have severe health consequences if left untreated, especially for women. Young women, ages 15–24 were particularly affected by Chlamydia, with incidence rates nearly eight times higher than the national average.
Syphilis and gonorrhea rates, which had been on the decline in much of the early 1990s, have remained mostly constant in recent years, in the case of gonorrhea, or spiked, in the case of syphilis. Rates of syphilis remain low compared to the other two diseases, but the rate of primary and secondary syphilis rose 15.2 percent from 2006 to 2007.
“This report is disturbing on several levels,” said Joseph DiNorcia, Jr., president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. “All three of these diseases are extremely preventable through the correct and consistent use of condoms, so the fact that they are still a major public health issue shows that many people are not engaging in safe sex practices. We need to get back to the fundamental message: condoms save lives and prevent disease.”
The report also found notable racial disparities among the reported STDs, with blacks in the United States bearing the heaviest burden. While making up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, blacks made up 70 percent of gonorrhea cases, 48 percent of chlamydia cases, and 46 percent of syphilis cases. The CDC reports that these disparities are due, at least in part, to socioeconomic barriers that the black population faces to obtaining STD treatment and prevention services.
“It is unacceptable to have one segment of the population suffering such a disproportionate share of STDs,” continued DiNorcia. “We hope that the new administration will live up to its potential and provide funding so that everyone, especially traditionally underserved communities, can have access to STD prevention, education, and treatment.”  
The full report can be found at With questions, or for more information, contact Patrick Malone at (212)819-9770 ext.316 or