* Syphilis, gonorrhea rates largely unchanged
* STDs hit the young, gay and bisexual men hardest
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO, Dec 13 The number of Americans newly
diagnosed with chlamydia continued to rise in 2011, likely due
to increased screening and more sensitive tests, while rates of
syphilis remained unchanged and rates of gonorrhea hovered at
near-historic lows, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's annual report on sexually transmitted diseases,
which tracks cases of the three reportable STDs - chlamydia,
gonorrhea, and syphilis - young people and gay and bisexual men
continue to be most affected by STDs.
In 2011, gay and bisexual men made up nearly three-quarters,
or 72 percent, of all cases of syphilis. Young people had the
most cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, the CDC report found.
If left untreated, gonorrhea and chlamydia cause
infertility, and syphilis can lead to serious long-term
complications, including brain, heart and organ damage.
People with any of these diseases are at greater risk for
infection with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus
that causes AIDS.
Here are some details from the report:
* Gonorrhea - Overall, rates of gonorrhea rose 4 percent to
321,849, the second consecutive year of increases. But the
disease remains at historically low levels.
* Chlamydia - Reported cases of chlamydia rose 8 percent to 1.4
million in 2011, compared with 2010, continuing the 20-year
increase in diagnoses due to expanded screening efforts and more
sensitive screening tests.
* Syphilis - The overall number of syphilis cases held steady in
2011 at 13,970, after falling 1.6 percent in 2010. According to
the CDC, the steady trend masks declining infections among women
and increases among men, especially gay and bisexual men.