Top 3 STDs and their statistics
Something has been gnawing on my soul ever since I heard it reported on the news: the STD rates among women are increasing each year, especially the teenagers and young adult women. STDs are taking a toll not only physically, but economically too. And statistically, the greater number of STDs are from black women.
Being black and a mother, this is especially alarming. What is going on within the black family and why are we more prone to STDs then others? I may have a few answers with definite solutions to those issues.
But first a few facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC).
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24. In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.
19 million new infections each year and that mostly from the young 15 -24? Ouch! What mother wouldn’t be concerned about this especially if they have opened the door by allowing their children to be sexually active “as long as they use protection.” Could your or my child be in this category?
The statistics I’ll share are primarily from the three main STD’s that the CDC has concentrated their reporting on: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The CDC laments that most STDs go undetected such as papillomavirus and genital herpes, and aren’t reported at all. But check this out from the CDC starting with the number one reported STD, Chlamydia:
Chlamydia remains the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States. In 2006, 1,030,911 chlamydia diagnoses were reported, up from 976,445 in 2005. Even so, most chlamydia cases go undiagnosed. It is estimated that there are approximately 2.8 million new cases of chlamydia in the United States each year.
What is chlamydia? According to the CDC:
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can easily be cured with antibiotics, but usually occurs without symptoms and often goes undiagnosed. Untreated, it can cause severe health consequences for women, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility.
I’ve had an ectopic pregnancy and that is one painful thing to have! The baby is lodged in the fallopian tube instead of the womb and it grows there, thus causing the pain! Most ectopic pregnancies are terminated due to its dangerous nature. I had gone to the doctor’s office when I was experiencing the pain, and once it was diagnosed of the ectopic lodging, he told me to go straight to the emergency room he met me and removed not only the baby, but my tube as well. My husband and I had already had two children by that time, but don’t worry you women who have experienced this. I had three more children after the surgery! So yes, the Lord can still bless you with children with just one tube!
Now the next STD, gonorrhea:
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, with 358,366 cases reported in 2006. Following a 74 percent decline in the rate of reported gonorrhea from 1975 through 1997, overall gonorrhea rates plateaued, then increased for the past two years. In 2006, the gonorrhea rate was 120.9 cases per 100,000 population, an increase of 5.5 percent since 2005 and an increase for the second consecutive year. Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is substantially under-diagnosed and under-reported, and approximately twice as many new infections are estimated to occur each year as are reported.
And some info on gonorrhea:
While gonorrhea is easily cured, untreated cases can lead to serious health problems. Among women, gonorrhea is a major cause of PID, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In men, untreated gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, a painful infection in the tissue surrounding the testicles that can result in infertility. In addition, studies suggest that presence of gonorrhea infection makes an individual three to five times more likely to acquire HIV, if exposed.
Scary news here about gonorrhea, it is increasingly becoming more resistant to drugs, especially among the men have sex with men (MSM) category:
Overall, 13.8 percent of gonorrhea isolates tested through GISP in 2006 demonstrated resistance to fluoroquinolones, a leading class of antibiotics previously recommended to treat the disease, compared to 9.4 percent in 2005 and 6.8 percent in 2004. Resistance to the fluoroquinolones has been highest among men who have sex with men (MSM). From 2005 to 2006, resistance among heterosexuals nearly doubled from 3.8 to 7 percent and continued to increase among MSM from 29 to 39 percent.
And the third most common STD, syphilis which according to the CDC, numbers has increased for the sixth straight year:
The rate of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis — the most infectious stages of the disease — decreased throughout the 1990s, and in 2000 reached an all-time low. However, over the past six years, the syphilis rate in the United States has been increasing. Between 2005 and 2006, the national P&S syphilis rate increased 13.8 percent, from 2.9 to 3.3 cases per 100,000 population, and the number of cases increased from 8,724 to 9,756.
Syphilis, a genital ulcerative disease, is highly infectious, but easily curable in its early (primary and secondary) stages. If untreated, it can lead to serious longterm complications, including brain, cardiovascular, and organ damage, and even death. Congenital syphilis can cause stillbirth, death soon after birth, and physical deformity and neurological complications in children who survive. Syphilis, like many other STDs, facilitates the spread of HIV by increasing the likelihood of transmission of the virus.
Again, the men having sex with men category is a leading cause of the rising statistics for syphilis:
Rising Rates Driven Largely by Cases among Men Who Have Sex with Men
The rate of P&S syphilis among men has risen 54 percent over the past five years (from 3.7 per 100,000 in 2002 to 5.7 per 100,000 in 2006), driving overall increases in syphilis rates for the nation.
This isn’t even talking about AIDS but here are some facts regarding that STD and the black man or woman:
When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans have
- More illness. Even though blacks (including African Americans) account for about 13% of the US population, they account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV and AIDS.
- Shorter survival times. Blacks with AIDS often don’t live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS. This is due to the barriers mentioned above.
- More deaths. For African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.
These are all very alarming statistics and something has to be done to stop these increases, if not eradicating these diseases altogether. That in itself may not be possible, but at least getting these statistics to decrease and not increase! How can we begin to do that? Where does it all start? What can we do to slow down these statistics?
My theory to that answer in Part 2.