Michigan: Two Sexually Transmitted Diseases Rise; Metro Health Officials Believe Extra Screenings Reveal More Cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea
July 7, 2005
In metro Detroit, reported cases of chlamydia rose 25 percent last year, while cases of gonorrhea rose 18 percent, statistics from the state Department of Community Health show. In Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, chlamydia cases climbed from 15,581 to 19,446, while gonorrhea cases were up from 7,089 to 8,342.
Some of the increase may be due to increased testing of people ages 15-24, the most at-risk group. "Chlamydia has been steadily increasing for the last five years or so, and I think it's primarily because of more screening," said Macomb County Medical Director Dr. Kevin Lokar. Young women who participate in Macomb County's family planning program are routinely screened, said Lokar. Oakland County has also enhanced screening programs, including of people who enter its juvenile detention facility.
In addition, doctors are using newer tests that require urine samples instead of the more invasive swabs. The tests are more accurate than older ones and allow providers to test more people. With more people getting tested, more cases are diagnosed, said Mark Miller, manager of Michigan's STD program.
But some public health experts are concerned that young people are engaging in risky sexual behavior. "It seems that when kids fall off the abstinence wagon, they are not using protection," said Michael Morgan, Wayne County's deputy health official.
More cases being detected and treated will eventually drive rates down because there will be fewer infected people posing a risk to others, said Miller. STD prevention is key in reducing rates among young people, said officials. "Evaluate your risk factors and use methods to prevent transmission," said Jean Ulmer of the Oakland County Health Division.
07.05.2005; John Wisely
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.