In Sudden Reversal, STD Rates Drop Across Minnesota
April 12, 2010
New cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis dropped a total of 5 percent last year in Minnesota, new state data show. Nonetheless, new HIV cases rose suddenly by 13 percent, the greatest increase in 17 years; men who have sex with men (MSM) comprised 89 percent of primary/secondary syphilis cases among males; and the number of people co-infected with syphilis and HIV grew.
Health officials could not predict whether the drop in the three STDs is a turnaround or a one-year blip. "But we are encouraged by this apparent decrease," said Allison LaPointe, surveillance coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health.
Some officials cited aggressive partner notification, testing, treatment, and education outreach programs for the decline. Minneapolis for the past six years has offered STD screening and education through the "Seen on Da' Streets" program, which targets teens and young men in high-prevalence neighborhoods. Through it, outreach workers have reached about 11,000 young men in predominantly black areas.
New primary, secondary, and early latent cases declined substantially from 168 in 2008 to 117 last year. Incidence of primary and secondary syphilis declined from 2.4 cases per 100,000 population to 1.4 cases per 100,000, and it declined in every age group except ages 35-39. Although whites represented 75 percent of cases, black residents' rate of primary and secondary syphilis was five times that of whites.
Officials are especially worried about syphilis/HIV co-infections. Syphilis increases the likelihood of HIV infection by two to five times, and most of the new cases were MSM.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
04.06.2010; Josephine Marcotty
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.