New Mexico's Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates on Rise
January 23, 2003
Health officials have no good explanation for the increasing numbers of syphilis and gonorrhea cases in New Mexico, but said they might be due to more people having unprotected sex. They noted that the increases reflect what is occurring nationwide. "I just think the message is not really getting out there consistently enough about safer sex," said Dr. Bruce Trigg, medical director of the STD program for the New Mexico Department of Health in the Albuquerque area.Adapted from:
The number of syphilis cases is not large, but one marker of recently acquired cases more than doubled from 2001 to 2002: Cases of primary and secondary syphilis increased from 16 to 36. The overall number of cases reported rose 35 percent from 77 to 104.
Gonorrhea saw a 31.5 percent rise, from 1,085 cases in 2001 to 1,427 in 2002. For both diseases, the final 2002 numbers may climb even higher, because all cases may not have been reported by the time these figures were compiled.
Dr. Steve Jenison, physician-administrator for the health department's infectious diseases bureau, said the increase in syphilis might be partly due to people coming to the state from larger cities outside of New Mexico -- especially Phoenix, where rates are high. Some of that movement might be tied to the illegal drug trade, he said.
Social problems related to homelessness and the commercial sex trade also may contribute to the disease's spread, he said. "A lot of it is taking place along Central Avenue," Jenison added, explaining that hot spots for syphilis in New Mexico are in Bernalillo, San Juan and McKinley counties.
Jerry Cheney, who coordinates prevention education on STDs for the Department of Health, said new information campaigns may be in the works. People involved in HIV/AIDS education are expanding their efforts to include other STDs, he said.
01.20.03; Jackie Jadrnak
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.