Cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections Increasing Nationwide, Minorities Disproportionately Affected, CDC Report Finds
The number of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases nationwide has increased steadily over the past years, with racial and ethnic minorities continuing to be disproportionately affected, according to a CDC report released on Tuesday, the Bergen Record reports (Padawer, Bergen Record, 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 Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention at CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said. Blacks represented 46% of those 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 that of whites, the Record reports (Bergen Record, 11/14).
"The racial disparities in the diagnosis of gonorrhea are stark," Douglas said, noting that blacks are 18 times more likely to get gonorrhea than whites. The rate of gonorrhea increased 8.3% from 2005 to 2006, and blacks account for 69% of all new cases, according to the report. Southern states had the highest rates of gonorrhea, although there also were increases in the West, Douglas said.
The rate of syphilis also is higher among blacks, who are six times more likely than whites to have the STI. According to the report, the rate of syphilis among blacks increased by 16.5% between 2005 and 2006, with most cases among men (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/13). The racial gap has significantly declined since 1999, when blacks were 29 times more likely to have syphilis than whites, according to the Record.
The fact that minorities are more likely to receive care at public health clinics, which report STI cases more completely than private providers, might be a reason for the findings, but "public health experts believe the figures also reflect a genuine imbalance in disease distribution," the Record reports (Bergen Record, 11/14).
The report is available online.