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U.S. Chlamydia Infections Hit All-Time High
Date:11/13/2007

Million-plus cases reported, as gonorrhea, syphilis rates rise for 2nd year in a row, CDC says

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans newly infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) continues to rise, federal health officials reported Tuesday, with one infection in particular -- chlamydia - hitting a record million-plus new cases annually.

Numbers from 2006 show that cases of chlamydia, as well as gonorrhea and syphilis, continued to increase in the United States for the second year in a row, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The 1,030,911 new cases in 2006 for chlamydia, which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women as well as infertility, mark "an all-time high" for the disease in the United States, said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., director of the Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention at the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

The CDC now estimates that there are 19 million new cases of STDs diagnosed in the United States each year. Almost half of these occur among people 15 to 24 years of age, and they cost the health care system an estimated at $14.7 billion annually.

"STDs pose a serious and ongoing threat to millions of Americans," said Douglas during a teleconference on Tuesday.

"Young women, racial and ethnic populations, and men who have sex with men are particularly hard-hit by these diseases," Douglas said. "STDs can have serious health consequences, particularly if they are undiagnosed and left untreated"

In women, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Syphilis can cause neuralgic damage and fatal infections in babies, Douglas added. In addition, all three of these diseases increase the risk for transmitting and developing HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, he said.

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