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U.S. News

St. Louis, Missouri Still Leads U.S. in Two STDs, but Number of Cases Is Falling

January 14, 2009

St. Louis has more cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia per capita than any other county or independent city in the country, according to the latest annual report from CDC. In 2007, 742 cases of gonorrhea and 1,265 cases of chlamydia were reported per 100,000 residents, totaling almost 7,000 new diagnoses of the STDs. That is about 500 fewer cases than the previous year.

"We're seeing the cases go down," said Pamela Rice Walker, acting director of the St. Louis Department of Health. "I think what we're doing is effective, it's just going to take awhile to see even better results."

Dr. Bradley Stoner, an STD researcher and associate professor of medicine at Washington University, said the high STD rates in St. Louis are due to lack of health care access and public awareness. About two-thirds of the STDs in St. Louis occur in 15- to 24-year olds.

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"We still have a lot of disease to work with," Stoner said. "I hate seeing us at the top of the list every year."

The health department provides free STD testing and counseling as well as STD prevention training to all the city's high schools, middle schools and charter schools, according to Walker.

"Our recommendations are [to] abstain, be monogamous, practice safe sex, but most importantly, get an annual physical," Walker said. "Kids at that age group don't need immunizations anymore and they tend to not go to the doctor."

A drop-in clinic for young adults, "the Spot," sponsored by Washington University and other community partners, offers counseling, testing, and support groups. Chlamydia is the most common STD among clinic participants; 24 of 182 people tested so far have been positive.

Back to other news for January 2009

Adapted from:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
01.14.09; Blythe Bernhard


  
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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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