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STD Rates Continue to Rise, According to New Data

Friday, December 14, 2012   (0 Comments)
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Release Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012

For Immediate Release
December 13, 2012

For More Information Contact:
Stephanie S. Arnold Pang
National Coalition of STD Directors
(202) 689-5700


STD Rates Continue to Rise, According to New Data
Increased rates, especially for MSM, could have major impact on fighting HIV

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2011 sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance data. This annual report of statistics and trends for the three reportable sexually transmitted diseases in the United States shows that STD rates in this country continue to rise. These continually increasing STD rates may have a major impact on our ability to fight the HIV epidemic, particularly for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).

"This data reinforces what our member health departments are seeing on the ground—that our STD burden in this country is shockingly high, particularly in youth, communities of color and MSM,” stated William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. "Nowhere is this more evident in the 2011 increases in rates of syphilis among MSM, which has a major impact on our ability to address the HIV epidemic,” continued Smith.

In 2011, the overall rate for primary and secondary syphilis remained unchanged from 2010. The number of cases of syphilis among MSM, however, rose in 2011. Primary and secondary syphilis cases among MSM have continually increased every year since 2000. In contrast, cases of syphilis among women and men having sex only with women have declined since 2008.

"We know that having an underlying STD increases the risk of transmitting or acquiring HIV and while we need to better understand how other STD infections impact HIV prevention, these trends among MSM are profoundly worrying,” stated Smith.

In addition, increases in gonorrhea rates were seen in 2011 for a second year in a row. Young people and people of color continue to have a high burden of gonorrhea, disparities that have seen little change in recent years. In 2011, the gonorrhea rate in blacks was 17 times the rate in whites. The impact of a continually high gonorrhea disease burden is of concern as gonococcal antimicrobial resistance grows. The CDC was so concerned with growing resistance, that they updated their treatment guidelines for gonorrhea this summer— dual therapy with ceftriaxone and either azithromycin or doxycycline is now the only CDC recommended treatment for gonorrhea.

Rates of chlamydia in 2011 also rose over 2010 rates. The number of chlamydia cases reported to the CDC in 2011 was the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition. Rates of chlamydia have been increasing annually since the late 1980s, when improved and increased screening programs were established. The increase of chlamydia cases in 2011 is likely a continued reflection of improved testing, but the CDC also states that it may also reflect a true increase in morbidity.

The full 2011 STD surveillance data can be found on the CDC website at:


The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) is a partnership of public health professionals dedicated to promoting sexual health through the prevention of STDs. NCSD provides dynamic leadership that strengthens STD Programs by advocating for effective policies, strategies, and sufficient resources by increasing awareness of the medical and social impacts of STDs.

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