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U.S. Rise in STDs Breaking Records

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A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all on the rise once again in the United States. In fact, 1,013,000 cases of chlamydia were reported in 2006, the most ever for a sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to an Associated Press report.

While the CDC stated that the higher chlamydia rate might be due to “better and more intensive screening,” it did not apply this explanation to the rise in gonorrhea or syphilis.

In the case of gonorrhea, in which rates are again going up after hitting a record low, an increasing number of cases are caused by a “superbug” version that is resistant to several antibiotics.

The rate of congenital syphilis, the type that deforms or kills babies, rose for the first time in 15 years. “Hopefully we will not see this turn into a trend,” said Dr. Khalil Ghanem, an infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine.

The 2006 rate of reported chlamydia cases broke the 1978 record for single-year cases of an STD.

Concerning the “better and more intensive screening,” the CDC has recommended annual screening in sexually active women ages 15 to 25 since 1993. However, Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., director of the CDC’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, said he believes 2.8 million new cases of chlamydia may be occurring each year.

Regarding the “superbug” gonorrhea, doctors are increasingly worried, as they are seeing higher rates not only in California and Hawaii, where it is most common, but also in the South and Midwest. “Suddenly we’re starting to see the spread,” Dr. Ghanem said.


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