Protect Yourselves

By Rachel Walden — November 14, 2007

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases a report on rates of sexually transmitted infections. The recently released 2006 report reveals a 5.6% increase in reported chlamydia cases over 2005, with 1,030,911 cases reported to the CDC, the first time that number has gone over one million. Gonorrhea rates also increased for the second consecutive year after a long period of decline, as did rates of syphilis, which hit an all-time low in 2000 and have been increasing ever since. It is unclear how much of the change is due to increased screening for the infections.

The CDC’s report includes numerous tidbits on how these infections affect women, such as:

  • “Untreated early syphilis in pregnant women results in perinatal death in up to 40% of cases and, if acquired during the four years preceding pregnancy, may lead to infection of the fetus in 80% of cases.”
  • “In women, chlamydial infections, which are usually asymptomatic, may result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is a major cause of infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.”
  • Gonorrhea infections, like chlamydia, “are a major cause of PID in the United States… In addition, epidemiologic and biologic studies provide strong evidence that gonococcal infections facilitate the transmission of HIV infection.”

A special section of the report addresses STI concerns in women and children, but focuses primarily on fertility and pregnancy.

Resources for learning more about sexually transmitted infections, including symptoms, transmission, and prevention:

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