Department of Health

Improvement in Combating STDs

The Department established priority testing for both men and women between the ages of 15-24.

December 1, 2011 | 2 min reading time

The Department of Health recently reported that the City continues to see improvement in combating STDs. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its 2010 sexually transmitted disease (STD) ranking for counties and independent cities. The CDC ranks the top 65 cities and/or counties with the highest rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

Long term, gonorrhea is going down in the City, the number of syphilis cases is small, but flat, and the number of chlamydia cases is going up.

"The number of chlamydia cases is going up nationally," said Pam Rice Walker, City health director. "There are no symptoms. The only way to find it is to test for it. So, we are doing more testing. As we do more testing, we are finding more cases." Chlamydia can cause infertility in women.

 The CDC counts an average of 4,398 cases of chlamydia in the City of St. Louis from 2006-2010 with a peak of 4,703 cases in 2006. In 2010, the City reported 4,564 cases. The City is ranked 2nd in chlamydia in 2010.

The CDC counts an average of 2,033.8 cases of gonorrhea in the City of St. Louis from 2006-2010. In 2010, the City reported 1,702 cases. The City is ranked 3rd in gonorrhea in 2010.

The report shows that the CDC counts an average of 48.6 syphilis cases in the City of St. Louis from 2006-2010. In 2010, the City reported 56 cases. The City was ranked 20th in syphilis in 2010.

Public heath officials are concerned about the increasing trend in syphilis in men who have sex with men and in women with HIV. The City of St. Louis Department of Health strongly recommends that anyone who is sexually active get tested annually for HIV.

"We must remain vigilant in our fight against STDs," said Walker. "We still have too many STDs, and our data shows that STDs are especially prevalent in our young African American adults. In cases where the individual's race is known, African Americans between the ages 15-24 comprised over 90% of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases."

The Department of Health established priority testing for both men and women between the ages of 15-24, increased testing, and added mobile outreach efforts through the Minority AIDS Initiative. STD control education programs have been provided to high schools, middle schools, boys and girls clubs, and the juvenile detention center. Parents are strongly encouraged to talk to their children about the risks of STDs.

"The City relies on this type of data in determining how to combat STDs," continued Director Walker. "I need private providers to submit disease reports quickly so that follow-up care and investigations can occur faster, preventing the spread of disease. Providers can report an STD to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of HIV, STD, & Hepatitis, and the City of St. Louis Department of Health."

The Department of Health recommends that individuals should abstain from sexual contact, remain in a monogamous relationship, or practice safe sex in order to be safe from acquiring an STD. The Department of Health also recommends that young adults visit a health care provider at least once a year whether they are sexually active or not to be checked for diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

For additional information about the 2011 CDC STD Surveillance Report, contact the CDC at (404) 639-3286 or media@cdc.gov.

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  • Department:
    Department of Health
  • Topic:
    Health

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