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U.S. Chlamydia Infections Hit All-Time High
Date:1/13/2009

y have to go up before they go down," he said.

Gonorrhea rates have been stable for about the last 10 years, Douglas said. "This is stable at quite a high level. It represents an example where we have a job half done. Gonorrhea has come down since its highpoint in the 1970s, but we just got stuck in the late 1990s, and we've been stuck ever since then," he said.

Rates of gonorrhea were also higher among women -- 123.5 per 100,000 women -- compared with 113.7 per 100,000 men, according to the report.

But these numbers are probably just the tip of the iceberg, Douglas noted. The CDC estimates that only half of all new chlamydia and gonorrhea infections are reported, bringing the actual number of infected people to more than 3 million.

"We think there are really 2 to 2.5 million cases of chlamydia a year," he said.

The report also found continued increases in rates of syphilis. On the verge of elimination just a decade ago, syphilis rates began increasing in 2001 and rose 15.2 percent between 2006 and 2007, Douglas said.

"We got set back in a recurrence of syphilis among men who have sex with men," Douglas said. "There has been limited success in trying to curb that, but we have begun to see a slide in some of the better-controlled populations."

The increases in syphilis in 2007 were predominately among women. "We have seen increases in babies, which is the ultimate innocent bystander population," Douglas said.

What's more, if you have syphilis, you also have a 50 percent chance of being HIV-positive, he added.

The report found continued racial disparities for STD cases. Gonorrhea was 19 times more common among blacks than whites; chlamydia was eight times more common; and syphilis was seven times more common, Douglas said.

Black women 15 to 19 years old had the highest rates of both chlamydia (9,647 per 100,000 population) and gonorrhea (2,956 per 100,000 population), a
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