U.S.: 19 million new STDs each year

Nov. 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM
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ATLANTA, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- There are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections every year, costing the U.S. healthcare system $17 billion annually, federal health officials say.

Sexually transmitted diseases -- chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis -- are treatable, but left undetected they can cause serious, life-long consequences, including infertility, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

CDC's 2010 STD surveillance report shows trends in three treatable STDs including:

-- Chlamydia: Case reports have been steadily increasing for 20 years to 1.3 million in 2010. While the increase reflects expanded screening efforts, not an actual increase in the number of people infected with chlamydia, a majority of infections still go undiagnosed.

-- Gonorrhea: While rates are at historic lows, more than 300,000 cases were diagnosed in 2010. There are also signs that the disease may become resistant to the only available treatment option.

-- Syphilis: The overall syphilis rate decreased for the first time in a decade -- down 1.6 percent from 2009, though it is too soon to tell if this represents a new trend. The rate among young black men rose between 2009 to 2010, adding to a dramatic increase since 2006 of 134 percent. CDC data suggest it is likely driven by increases among young, black gay and bisexual men.

STDs affect people of all races/ethnicities, but African-Americans and Latinos are more affected by STDs than whites, even with similar levels of individual risk.

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