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Epidemic of Chlamydia Not Reported to Mass Media


There is a report on the CNN website that sounds troubling: “Sexually Transmitted Disease rates reach record high” but it’s dated October 20,2016.  I guess the media was more interested in the presidential election at that moment.  The CNN report is based on a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one of those agencies slated for budget cuts in the new administration.

The CNN report is illustrated with posters like the one reproduced above, from WW II.

The CDC report shows numbers collected for the year 2015 of the reportable sexually transmitted diseases, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.  Hepatitis C is not considered a venereal disease, but deserves a mention in this context; the CDC reported it separately on May 4, 2016.

The numbers show a yearly increase in the rate of chlamydia infections from the date it was first reportable, 1984, to 1.5 million cases in 2015.  At the same time, the rate of syphilis dropped from a peak of nearly half a million cases in the first reported year, 1941, to a nadir of about 30,000 cases in 2000-1; there has been a gradual but steady increase in syphilis cases to about 75,000 in 2015.  Gonorrhea rates rose from about 200,000 reports in 1941 to a million cases in 1975-1981, then dropped gradually to about 300,000 in 2009 before increasing to about 400,000 in 2015.

The numbers for these three infections are on the rise again, and the rate of chlamydia has been increasing every year for the last 30 or more years to dominate the picture.

For Hepatitis C, the situation is even worse: the CDC report shows mortality increasing by six percent a year over the last fifteen years to almost 20,000 people a year, more than any other reportable infectious disease.  At the same time, the rate of HIV-related mortality has decreased a total of 42%, to under 9,000 deaths a year.

These are serious, and preventable, infections that can ruin a person’s health and life.  National health insurance would go a long way towards reducing the rates and mortality from these infections.  The increases in chlamydia rates, in particular, represent a failure of preventative measures that is directly related to poor education at the high school level.  Sex education is critical for reducing these rates, and home schooling will not fill the bill.  Only a public school with obligatory attendance by children will serve to educate and protect them from serious harm in so many ways.  Our present administration is pointed in the wrong direction on this issue as on so many others.

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