Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year — almost half of them among young people 15 to 24 years of age. 1 In addition to the burden on youth, women are also severely affected. Biological factors place women at greater risk than men for the severe health consequences of STDs. The two most commonly reported infectious diseases in America — chlamydia and gonorrhea — pose a particular risk to the health of women, as both can result in infertility if left untreated. Together, these diseases were reported in almost 1.5 million Americans in 2007, but the majority of cases continue to go undiagnosed. Both of these diseases, along with syphilis and herpes, have also been associated with increased HIV transmission, which is of particular concern among men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races and African-American men and women, where the HIV burden is now greatest. Reducing the preventable and persistent toll of STDs will require expanded access to prevention, treatment, and screening services for the diverse populations now at risk. This document summarizes 2007 national data on trends in three notifiable STDs — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis — that are published in CDC’s report, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2007 (available at www.cdc.gov/std/stats07). These data, which are useful for examining overall trends and trends among specific populations at risk, represent only a small proportion of the true national burden of STDs. Many cases of notifiable STDs go undiagnosed, and some common viral infections, such as human papillomavirus and genital herpes, are not reported at all
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