Advance HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention and Treatment
Despite the existence of effective testing and treatment technology, high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), persist in the United States. The rates reflect a lack of effective access to services and education connected to underlying inequities in our society.
In addition, a myriad of other social determinants that affect individuals’ risk behaviors impact the continually high rates of STIs. In 2007, 1,108,374 cases of Chlamydia were reported to the CDC, a 7.5% increase from 2006 and the largest number of cases ever documented for any condition. Syphilis rates have increased every year since 2001, despite the success of the National Plan to Eliminate Syphilis in the 1990s, and HIV rates continue to rise, particularly in communities of color.
Many of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) go unscreened and untreated, perpetuating the spread of disease and often resulting in severe health outcomes such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, birth defects, organ damage, and death.
Local Recommendations:While gross disparities in STI and STD rates exist among populations and within urban areas, there are clear opportunities for local leaders to destigmatize and decrease the incidence and effects of STDs by raising public awareness, making condoms free or more accessible, and increasing access to screenings and treatments. Other local efforts to reduce poverty and systemic inequity will also have a positive effect on addressing the continued high incidence of STDs and disparities among populations.
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