ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — Gonorrhea (GC – ed.) has fallen to the lowest level on record in the United States, while the rates of other sexually transmitted diseases — syphilis and chlamydia — are on the rise, federal health officials said Tuesday.
The seemingly paradoxical findings can be explained by the cyclical nature of syphilis outbreaks and a rise in risky sexual behavior among gay men, researchers said.
The nation’s gonorrhea rate fell to 113.5 cases per 100,000 people last year, the lowest level since the government started tracking cases in 1941, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the same time, health official saw increases in syphilis, which is far more rare but has been increasing since 2000. The rate of reported early-stage syphilis was 2.7 cases per 100,000 in 2004, up 29 percent since 2000.
Let’s not forget that syphilis as an infection is remarkably sensitive to antibiotics, and that it’s dogma that if you have one STD you’ve got more than one. Here’s how I think this happens: GC will make a patient get help, as it is painful and the copious amount of pus generated by GC isn’t something that can be rationalized or ignored. People with syphilis, on the other hand, have symptoms that are much easier to ignore (for the first 5-10 years), and so it’s easier not to get treatment.