For the third year in a row, the CDC is reporting that the STD burden in the U.S. has increased. The Southeast continues to sustain the highest rates of the entire U.S., with Etowah County, Ala. by far having the highest incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., director of the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases is available to discuss how we are losing ground on the STD battle and what we can do to fight it.
**UAB has a news studio available for live or taped HD interviews via the LTN Global Network or ISDN line.
Dr. Marrazzo breaks down what we are seeing:
- STDs are something that we should be able to control, particularly in pregnant women. This population is experiencing a continued increase in congenital syphilis, with rates being the highest they have been in almost 20 years. ID physicians have been talking about eliminating congenital syphilis since the mid-1990s.
- Youth age 15 to 24 continue to make up most reported chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, and now are experience syphilis increases, even in heterosexual populations.
- Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men continue to face the highest rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection. Rates of syphilis in this group have risen every year for the past five years.
Now what? UAB is one of the premier healthcare providers that has forged and continues to grow relationships with local health departments to enhance capacity for better diagnosis and management. One way is by providing a safe place for teens to talk about sexual health. Also, UAB is a pioneer in cutting edge research that will benefit those affected by these infections, such as studying and confirming of azithromycin as an effective drug in the treatment of urogenital chlamydia.
Marrazzo encourages public health organizations and members of the media to share tips of protecting oneself from STDs to help decrease infection rates, including:
- Condoms, which work to reduce transmission of all of these infections, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- Reducing risk by receiving appropriate vaccinations, specifically the HPV vaccine.
- Limiting the number of sex partners, mutual monogamy and regular screening as recommended by current guidelines.
Marrazzo is available to speak with you anytime this week. Please let me know the best time for you to discuss STDs and how they are affecting our communities.