Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections rose again in the United States in 2006, the second year in a row that rates of these sexually transmitted bacterial infections increased.
The rate of chlamydia increased by 5.6 percent between 2005 and 2006, with more than 1 million reported chlamydia cases in 2006 — the highest number of annual U.S. cases ever for any sexually transmitted disease. According to the CDC, the reported cases of chlamydia are likely less than half the actual occurrence.
The rate of gonorrhea rose 5.5 percent in 2006, with more than 350,000 cases reported, and the rate of syphilis rose 13.8 percent, with nearly 10,000 cases.
About 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year in the U.S., almost half among people ages 15 to 24. “This is a hidden epidemic,” said Dr. Stuart Berman, who helps track STD’s for the CDC.
According to Dr. John Douglas, who heads CDC STD prevention efforts, local and state health departments lack the funds necessary for prevention programs, and lack of health care insurance among many Americans might be a contributing factor as well.