On December 13,2012 CDC’s Division of STD Prevention released the latest national data on reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in its 2011 STD Surveillance Report. The report finds that STDs continue to threaten the health and well-being of millions of Americans, particularly gay and bisexual men and young people.
Trend data available for the first time this year show that primary and secondary syphilis cases – the most infectious stages of the disease — are increasing among gay and other men who have sex with men, who now account for more than 70 percent of all infections. If not adequately treated, syphilis can lead to paralysis, dementia and death. Syphilis infection can also place a person at increased risk for HIV infection. Given the high prevalence of HIV in the gay community, increasing syphilis infections among gay and bisexual men are particularly troubling.
Data from the report also show that numbers and rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea infection are highest in Americans between the ages of 15 and 24. Both young men and young women are heavily affected by STDs – but young women face some of the most serious long-term health consequences. Left untreated, these diseases can silently steal a woman’s chance to have children later in life; it is estimated that undiagnosed STDs cause infertility in 24,000 women each year.