SF unable to reverse STD rate increases

The Bay Area Reporter
Matthew S. Bajko
Original Article:  bit.ly/1vk6UCR

Despite efforts by local health officials to reverse the trend, San Francisco saw cases of sexually transmitted diseases rise for a ninth consecutive year in 2014.

Preliminary year-end data for reportable STDs, released by the city’s public health department late last month, show year-over-year increases for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis. The majority of cases remain among sexually active gay and bisexual men.

Chlamydia increased by 17 percent, from 5,094 cases in 2013 to 5,972 in 2014. Male rectal chlamydia jumped 20 percent last year, increasing from 1,167 to 1,410 cases.

Gonorrhea increased "even more steeply," noted public health officials in an advisory included in the January 30, 2015 monthly STD report.

Cases of the venereal disease shot up 30 percent in 2014 to 3,283 cases. There were 2,523 cases in 2013. Rectal gonorrhea among men also increased by 9.4 percent last year, from 796 cases in 2013 to 874 cases.

Despite signs of early syphilis cases stabilizing in the first half of 2014, the later half of the year continued a trend of seeing increased cases of the STD between the months of July and December. Overall in 2014, early syphilis increased to 1,114 cases from the 1,021 cases reported in 2013.

Asked if the nearly decade-long rise in STD cases in the city is a "new normal," Dr. Stephanie Cohen, the medical director for the health department’s City Clinic, told the Bay Area Reporter , "I hope not."

The goal, Cohen said, remains to see the trend reversed.

"We as the Department of Public Health want to work with the community to find prevention strategies that are effective and acceptable," she said. "We are seeing increases among gay men really in all major cities that have large gay populations. But San Francisco does have a particularly high rate."

Full text of article available at link below:  bit.ly/1vk6UCR