Gonorrhea rates 'alarming' among young San Francisco
Bay City News Service
March 30, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco health officials are
reporting "alarming increases" in the number of gonorrhea
cases among young, heterosexual African-Americans in the city
and have notified medical providers to be on the lookout for people
with the condition so they can be treated promptly.
Gonorrhea is an easily treated sexually transmitted bacterial
infection that increases the risk of acquiring HIV. Among woman,
gonorrhea can cause infertility and other serious medical conditions,
and among women in particular it often produces mild or no symptoms.
Condoms, when used properly, are an effective means of lowering
the risk of gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases,
the health department noted.
The health department reported that African-American teenagers
15 to 19 years are experiencing a more than 100 percent increase
in the rate of gonorrhea infections, compared with 2004.
Among 20- to 24-year-olds the rate of gonorrhea increased by
more than 90 percent since 2003.
In 2005, African-American women in San Francisco experienced
12 times the rate of gonorrhea infection than white women.
About 7 percent of San Franciscans are African-American, but
more than 50 percent of gonorrhea occurs among African Americans,
according to the health department.
Pennan Barry, a medical epidemiologist with San Francisco STD
Prevention and Control Services said the Department of Public
Health "is concerned about this increase in gonorrhea.
We want to make sure that people who are at risk for gonorrhea
are tested, and that people who test positive and their partners
are treated promptly.''
A team from the department will be talking to young heterosexuals
to try to find out what sort of risk factors might be contributing
to the increase in gonorrhea cases.
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