On Dec. 14, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the latest data on the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the United States. The report contains the finalized surveillance data on eight illnesses that are primarily transmitted through sexual contact. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are the three most common STDs.
The CDC released a report titled Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2011 on Thursday. The report contains the latest, finalized data from 2011 as well as historical information.
The number of chlamydia illnesses reported to the CDC in 2011 set a record, 1,412,791 cases. This represents an increase of 8 percent from 2010. While the illness often presents with no symptoms, routine screenings for women are most likely the reason that more cases are being diagnosed and treated. The CDC recommends a yearly test for chlamydia for all sexually active women age 25 and under.
The number of gonorrhea cases reported to the CDC in 2011 was a 4 percent increase from 2010, at just under 322,000 illnesses. Gonorrhea infections have become closely associated with chlamydia infections. A large number of patients with gonorrhea also have chlamydia. Physicians may treat for both illnesses without testing for both.
Primary and secondary syphilis cases showed no real change from 2010. Just 13,970 illnesses were reported in 2011, 200 more than the preceding year. The illness was seen primarily in men who have sex with men (MSM). That category represents 72 percent of all 2011 syphilis cases reported to the CDC.
All three of these illnesses are treatable. The CDC report discusses the continuing concerns about strains of gonorrhea that are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The treatment protocol for the illness was changed in 2011 to require the use of two antibiotics.
There are a number of other illnesses that fall into the category of sexually transmitted diseases. They include herpes, viral hepatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) and trichomoniasis. The number of illnesses, and the quality of the data reported to the CDC, varies.
Important points made in the 2011 report include the continued appearance of repeat STD infections in many individuals. Also noted is the evidence that many STD infections are associated with an increased risk of catching HIV / AIDS. The report also repeats the warnings that many STDs have few or no symptoms, and that many STDs can also be oral or anal infections, as well as genital infection.