St. Louis ranked second-highest in the number of reported cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia per 100,000 population last year, compared to other US cities and counties, a new CDC report shows. For the past two years, the city ranked first for both diseases, and it ranked in the top five for the last decade.
In 2008, the city had nearly 4,300 cases of chlamydia and 1,890 gonorrhea reports, down by about 500 cases from 2007. That meant that St. Louis had 538.8 gonorrhea cases per 100,000 population, slipping below Richmond, Va., and 1,225.3 chlamydia cases per 100,000, just below Baltimore.
About two-thirds of STD cases in St. Louis are among persons ages 15-24. Health officials estimate that fewer than half of those who have gonorrhea and chlamydia are diagnosed and treated.
The city's recent education and screening programs have helped push down reported cases of the diseases, said Pamela Walker, interim director of the health department. Public health educators offer STD screening and education weekly at the city's Juvenile Detention Center, and the health department has made screenings more accessible by offering them at fairs and other community events.
"There's no acceptable level of STDs, especially among our youth," Walker said. "We really need to keep getting the word out. I think this is a reminder for parents to have their annual conversation with their teen about the dangers of STDs."