STDs in United States

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is compiling reports of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) since 1941. For example one of the common STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) gonorrhea was lower than other years at approximately 112 cases per 100,000 populations in 2004 in the US, which was highest in the mid 70s to more than 450 cases per 100,000 per year.

The incidence of syphilis (both primary and secondary) was more than 70 per 100,000 populations in the US in 1946 and fell rapidly to below 4 per 100,000 populations in 1956, due to increased use of effective antibiotics (which reduced the duration of infectivity). After 1956 there was slight increase in the incidence of syphilis till 1987 (approximately 10-15 cases per 100,000 populations per year, due to with marked increase among homosexual men and African Americans) and started reducing again (most marked decrease among heterosexual African Americans), which is approximately 2 cases per 100,000 populations per year at present.

But unfortunately there is increase in number of STIs like gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydial infection etc. since 1996 in US as well as many other Western nations, due to introduction of highly active antiretroviral (anti HIV) therapy as well as due to the avoidance by some homosexual men of unprotected sex with HIV partners but not with HIV negative partners (a strategy that provides no protection against STIs other than HIV infection). There is also increased number of a rare type of chlamydial infection (lymphogranuloma venereum or LGV) that had virtually disappeared.

In general due to fear of HIV transmission (which prompted behavioral change) since the mid-1980s along with better-organized systems of care for the curable STIs the number of STIs have come down drastically in most of the industrialized nations including US. But due to availability of potent antiretroviral therapy the risk taking seems to be increasing, as is evident by the increased number of STIs in recent years.

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