Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Still Ranks Highest in STD Rates

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Still Ranks Highest in STD Rates

Article excerpt

In what has become an annual ritual, St. Louis again had the country's highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. The city had more cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea per capita than any other independent city or county in the U.S. in 2014.

For more than a decade, St. Louis has ranked in the top five for sexually transmitted disease rates.

The rankings are partly skewed because St. Louis does not belong to a county like most other major cities. If the entire metropolitan area is included, the St. Louis region ranks 15th for chlamydia and 17th for gonorrhea.

"We are just one of a number of urban centers across the U.S. that have high rates of disease and limited health infrastructure to address those," said Dr. Bradley Stoner, of the St. Louis STD/HIV Prevention Training Center at Washington University.

The sexually transmitted disease epidemic nationwide has reached record levels for chlamydia, the most common infection. Last year's total of more than 1.4 million was the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released its annual report Tuesday. "America's worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the CDC.

There is some good news for St. Louis: The rates for the two diseases have decreased locally despite the rise nationwide. There were 14,711 chlamydia infections diagnosed in the St. Louis area last year, down from a high of 15,517 in 2011. Gonorrhea infections totaled 4,346 in the area, compared to 5,014 in 2011. Syphilis, the third disease included in the CDC report, was the only infection that has steadily increased, from 92 infections in 2011 to 153 last year.

Sexually transmitted diseases present a stubborn challenge for public health providers. …

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