Federal STD Prevention Found Healthy by CDC

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Some 32 million cases of gonorrhea were averted in the last three decades, thanks in part to government-funded prevention efforts, federal researchers said last week.

This shows that sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention efforts are "effective and economically sound strategies" for improving the nation's health, said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., director of the STD prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC research, released last week at a conference in the Netherlands, examined the impact of federal funding of STD prevention programs through state and local health departments. Researchers estimated that prevention programs resulted in 32 million fewer cases of gonorrhea between 1971 and 2003.

They also estimated that $5 billion in direct medical costs was saved because of reductions in cases of gonorrhea and syphilis between 1990 and 2003.

At last week's conference, the CDC released new information about chlamydia, the United States' most commonly reported STD with 877,478 cases reported in 2003. About 2.2 percent of the adult population, ages 14-39, has chlamydia, the CDC said.

In general, men and women have about the same rates of infection. However, when specific age groups and other characteristics are examined, young women, low-income youths and blacks have a high prevalence of chlamydia.

Chlamydia can be transmitted via vaginal, oral and anal sex. It is curable with antibiotics; however, it doesn't cause any symptoms in about three-quarters of infected women and about half of infected men. …