January 13, 2014 — The number of reported syphilis cases in the U.S. increased by more than 11% in 2012 from 2011, while chlamydia cases remained essentially steady and gonorrhea cases increased slightly, according to an annual CDC report released on Wednesday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (Townsend, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/9).
The report is based on disease reporting to CDC from state and local programs, sexually transmitted infection monitoring projects and other national surveys (Smith, "The Gupta Guide," MedPage Today, 1/9).
Overall, the report found that STI rates in 2012 were highest among people ages 15 to 24. Women in that age group had the highest infection rates for both chlamydia and gonorrhea. Further, CDC estimated that 24,000 women become infertile because of undiagnosed or untreated STIs annually (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/9).
For syphilis, the number of reported cases increased to 15,667, from 13,970 in 2011. The rate increased only among men and remained even for women. Seventy-five percent of reported syphilis cases in 2012 were among men who have sex with men ("The Gupta Guide," MedPage Today, 1/9).
The report also found that the number of infants born with syphilis in 2012 decreased by 10%, to 322 reported cases, representing a rate of 7.8 per 100,000 live births (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/9).
The number of reported chlamydia cases rose to 1.42 million in 2012, marking the highest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any of the STIs. Still, the chlamydia rate increased by only 0.7% overall from 2011 and did not increase at all among women, who are most likely to be tested for the infection and accounted for more than twice as many cases as men.
By comparison, chlamydia cases among men increased by 3.2%. Eloisa Llata, a doctor at CDC's STD prevention division and co-author of the report, noted that MSM appear to be driving the increase.
The report found that reported gonorrhea cases in 2012 rose to 334,826, increasing by 4% from the previous year. The 2012 rates were slightly higher among women than men ("The Gupta Guide," MedPage Today, 1/9).