St. Louis Public Radio News
10:47 pm
Mon November 22, 2010

St. Louis shows mixed results for STD prevention

ST. LOUIS – A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the St. Louis region is doing a better job of controlling the spread of some sexually transmitted diseases.

For the second year in a row, St. Louis has seen a big drop in infection rates for gonorrhea.

Data released Monday by the CDC show fewer than 3,600 cases of gonorrhea in the region last year. That's down from just under 6,500 cases in 2007.

St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker said the city has led an aggressive campaign to reduce transmission rates in young people.

"We have really worked with providers and parents and the school system to get prevention recommendations out, to get people in for treatment sooner, and we have improved our medications to be more effective in accordance with the CDC guidelines," Walker said.

Rates of syphilis in the St. Louis area also decreased, while Chlamydia infections remained among the highest in the nation.

Like the rest of the country, St. Louis has seen rates of Chlamydia increase from year to year, with more than 14,500 cases reported in 2009.

Washington University infectious disease expert Dr. Bradley Stoner attributed some of that trend to an increase in routine screening.

"We're going to see increases in Chlamydia because we're doing a more effective job of screening," Stoner said, "Chlamydia's a disease where the more you look for it, the more you find it."

Stoner also said that many people with Chlamydia don't have any symptoms and don't realize they need to get tested. This is especially a problem for men, who tend not to go for routine reproductive check-ups.