Press Release No. 2019-004
STDs on the Rise in Guam and Reach Record Heights in the US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on September 25, 2018 showing that STDs in the United States increased for the fourth year in a row. More than 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported to CDC in 2017. Of pressing concern is the rise of congenital syphilis, a condition affecting mothers and newborns – congenital syphilis case numbers spiked to over 900 in the U.S., and it is anticipated to continue to climb.
These worrisome trends hold true in the rates of reported cases in Guam. In 2017, Guam had 663 reported chlamydia cases per 100,000 population compared to the total U.S. and outlying area case rate of 525.1 per 100,000 population, the 5th highest chlamydia case rate in the nation.
Although Guam’s case rates for gonorrhea and syphilis per 100,000 population are below national numbers, there is an increase in reported cases for both STDs over the last couple of years. Guam’s gonorrhea case rates increased from 79.7 in 2016 to 121.0 in 2017. Guam’s syphilis case rates rose from 7.8 in 2016 to 12.6 in 2017.
It is crucial to mobilize partnerships and resources among the island’s private, public and military health sectors to effectively address the increase in STDs. The island community must aim to establish an interdisciplinary approach and synergy among local agencies to reach young people ages 15-24, and pregnant women.
It is important to consider that the numbers on the CDC STD Surveillance Report are only from reported cases; therefore, there may be individuals unaware of their STD status – the only way to know if you are infected with an STD is to be tested. For more information about testing services available on Guam, contact the STD/HIV Hotline at 735-AIDS (2437).
The full CDC STD Surveillance Report may be accessed via the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/toc.htm
LEO G. CASIL