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Sexually Transmitted Infections Are On Increase

Armen Hareyan's picture

Sexually TransmittedInfections

The numberof chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases nationwide has increased steadilyover the past years, with racial and ethnic minorities continuing to bedisproportionately affected, according to a CDC report released on Tuesday, the Bergen Record reports (Padawer, BergenRecord, 11/14).

The report found that there were 1,030,911 new cases of chlamydia in 2006 -- an"all-time high," John Douglas, director of the Division of SexuallyTransmitted Disease Prevention at CDC's National Centerfor HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said. Blacks represented 46% ofthose cases and were eight times more likely than others to have the infection,Douglas said (Reinberg, HealthDay/U.S.News & World Report, 11/13). Hispanics have a chlamydia rate three times higher than thatof whites, the Record reports (BergenRecord, 11/14).

"The racial disparities in the diagnosis of gonorrhea are stark," Douglas said, noting that blacks are 18 times more likelyto get gonorrhea than whites. The rate of gonorrhea increased 8.3% from 2005 to2006, and blacks account for 69% of all new cases, according to the report. Southernstates had the highest rates of gonorrhea, although there also were increasesin the West, Douglas said.

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The rate of syphilis also is higher among blacks, who are six times more likelythan whites to have the STI. According to the report, the rate of syphilisamong blacks increased by 16.5% between 2005 and 2006, with most cases amongmen (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/13). The racialgap has significantly declined since 1999, when blacks were 29 times morelikely to have syphilis than whites, according to the Record.

The fact that minorities are more likely to receive care at public healthclinics, which to report Sexually TransmittedInfections

cases more completely than private providers,might be a reason for the findings, but "public health experts believe thefigures also reflect a genuine imbalance in disease distribution," the Recordreports (Bergen Record, 11/14).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.