February 10, 2009
Illinois' STD burden, as detailed in CDC's annual report on the diseases, has been fairly consistent in recent years, according to Dr. Will Wong, medical director of the STD/HIV program for the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).
"In terms of numbers of cases and case rates that were presented in the report, the state of Illinois has remained pretty steady over the past couple of years," Wong said. "Locally, in the city of Chicago, cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia have remained steady over the last three years. We are actually finding more cases of chlamydia through better, more targeted screening efforts. When we do screening and testing, we're testing the right population and applying public health dollars efficiently to screen the right population."
According to CDC, Illinois ranked 10th among the 50 states for chlamydia, with a rate of 432.2 cases per 100,000 people; ninth for gonorrhea, with a rate of 162.2 per 100,000; and 16th for syphilis, with a rate of 3.6 cases per 100,000.
Wong said that despite greatly reduced federal funding, CDPH continues to target STDs through various awareness-building campaigns that focus public attention on sexual health. In addition, the department maintains five STD clinics offering confidential care. The public can help, Wong said, by becoming more aware of STDs and taking part in community-based programs to prevent their spread.