Reuters: STDs take ‘staggering toll’

Reuters: STDs take ‘staggering toll’

“Despite everything we know about how to prevent and treat STDs,”
says one director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “they
remain one of the more critical challenges in the United States today.”
As Julie Steenhuysen reports for Reuters, the rate of syphilis may have
dropped, but sexually-transmitted disease still takes a “staggering
toll.”

Sex offenses like rape often involve testing for STDs, and STDs primarily affect young
people, a group that accounts for almost half of new infections, according
to the report.

It’s unclear exactly what the “staggering toll” is that
STDs have on the U.S. population – unless you’re talking about
the health problems that diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis
can have on the infected patient if left untreated.

Untreated syphilis, for instance, can cause serious internal damage to
the human body, including the brain and heart.

Perhaps most disheartening is the widening disparity between whites and
minorities who become infected with STDs; blacks and Hispanics tend to
contract these STDs more so than whites.

The same CDC director says, “It’s not because someone is black
or Hispanic or white that results in the differences that we see in STDs.
It’s really what these represent in terms of differences in health
care coverage, employment status, in ability to access preventive services
or curative services.”

Source: Reuters, “Syphilis rates drop, but STDs still big problem,” by Julie Steenhuysen, 11/17/11