NCSD Reacts with Alarm to Increased Gonorrhea Rates

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NCSD responds to March 16 issue of CDC MMWR showing an overall increase of 42% in gonorrhea rates in 8 western states. Urgent attention needed to address inadequate funding and its impact on state and local infrastructures. Data covers Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

To serve as the voice to protect, promote and advance public health through STD prevention, education and treatment.

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In response to today's CDC report* citing large increases in rates of gonorrhea in 8 western states the National Coalition of STD Directors is calling for a multi-faceted effort to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Don Clark, NCSD's executive director, said, "These efforts include support for increased funding to allow states and local jurisdictions to build their infrastructures in order to support expanded education, testing and treatment."

During the last 15 years local and state governments' have lost the resources and staff that provided critical safety net services such as treatment follow-up, partner services, surveillance activities and outbreak response. In California alone the number of disease investigation specialists declined precipitously from a high in 1994 of 23 to a current level of 3.

During the last several years funding the Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not increased and current expectations are for flat or decreased funding in the FY08 federal budget.

NCSD's Clark stated, "Sexual health should be considered as basic as fighting heart disease or cancer. We must insure that our schools are teaching medically accurate information as part of a comprehensive sexual health curriculum. Anything less would be a total disservice to our kids."

Also high on NCSD's radar is the increasing problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea infections. Clark said, "With only one class of antibiotics left it is imperative that the pharmaceutical industry strengthen its commitment to public health by committing increased funding to the development of a new generation of STD medications. Without these efforts a serious public health crisis looms."

While public health officials are being called on to explain a 42% increase in the gonorrhea rates in the western states between 2000 and 2005 concern is being raised that decreased funding over the last decade has negatively impacted the extent of services communities are able to offer. Equally concerning to state officials is the possibility that untreated gonorrhea can cause infertility and increase a person's susceptibility to HIV.

"Increases in Gonorrhea Incidence Rates - Eight Western States, 2000-2005," was published in the CDC's weekly bulletin, March 16, 2007, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and is available online at

NCSD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC representing the STD Directors of the 65 CDC funded STD project areas. Its mission is "To serve as the voice to protect, promote and advance public health through STD prevention, education and treatment."

For Information Contact:

Don Clark

National Coalition of STD Directors


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