In the News
Annual surveillance results for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its annual report on sexually transmitted disease, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2011, which shows that the chlamydia rate increased 8% from 2010, gonorrhea increased 4%, and syphilis decreased 9% in women but increased almost 4% in men. Although chlamydia accounted for the largest number of cases ever reported to the CDC for any condition, the report says that increase may be related to improved screening. Overall, reports of gonorrhea were at near-historic lows, but a 4% increase since 2010 marks the second consecutive year of increases. The overall rates of primary and secondary syphilis were unchanged from 2010, but those figures hide the decline in infections among women and the increase among men, particularly among gay and bisexual men. The CDC noted that the burden of sexually transmitted diseases falls disproportionately on young people and on men who have sex with men. For example, 62% of gonorrhea and 70% of chlamydia infections occur among 15-to-24-year-olds, and men who have sex with men currently account for 72% of primary and secondary syphilis cases. The CDC found this last statistic “particularly troubling” because four in 10 such men with syphilis are also infected with HIV, and syphilis increases the risk of HIV infection and can increase the HIV viral load in an HIV-positive person. The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/std/stats.