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U.S. News

Ohio: On the Prowl for STDs

August 28, 2007

Hamilton County ranks 14th nationally for gonorrhea rates, CDC reports. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area also includes parts of Indiana and Kentucky, where new chlamydia cases rose from 570 in 2005 to more than 1,000 in 2006. In response, health authorities are calling for more testing to diagnose those infected and greater educational efforts to prevent infections in the first place.

Getting patients to present to health care professionals is only part of the challenge. "Physicians do a pretty lousy job of following national recommendations and guidelines on screening for STDs," said Jill Huppert, an adolescent-medicine specialist and medical director of the Cincinnati STD/HIV Prevention Training Center.

"You can't tell what STDs look like," Huppert said. "A lot of times, patients don't have symptoms and you're not going to know if they're infected unless you test." Studies have shown that doctors perform STD tests only on about one-third of Medicaid patients and 20-25 percent of patients with private insurance.

Health experts say the rise in chlamydia and gonorrhea has worrisome implications for syphilis and HIV. "We do tell people, the same way you got chlamydia, you can get HIV," said Johnnie Askew, an epidemiologist and health counselor with the Cincinnati Health Department.

Greg Swan is a communicable-disease investigator with the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which serves four counties. To arrest the spread of diseases, he and his colleagues work to contact the partners of infected persons. "Whatever contacts I find, I have to go talk to them and see who they've been sleeping with and who their partners have slept with and just keeping going down the list," he said.

At the Cincinnati Health Department, 29 percent of adult women tested were positive for the STD trichomoniasis, while 10 percent had chlamydia and 9 percent had gonorrhea.

Back to other news for August 2007

Adapted from:
Cincinnati Enquirer
8.25.2007; Peggy O’Farrell

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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.
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