According to a Medicare Health Plans analysis, Illinois residents researched more for syphilis than anything else. Across the nation, other top searches including syphilis, HIV/AIDS and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). While the number doesn’t mean a rise in the disease, it only means people are worried about it.
Cook County Department of Public Health Dr. Terry Mason said syphilis isn’t the STD to be concerned with, but chlamydia is. He said people are 55 times more likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia and 15 times more likely to suffer from gonorrhea.
Mason said Chicago has seen a rise in syphilis cases, making the number higher than the U.S. average. He said the CDC ranks the city and county has being the second highest among others in the U.S. Mason said that equates to 30 people out of 100,000 where the U.S. is 8.7. While Cook County follows the nation in terms of numbers, he said, Chicago is much higher.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most common STD in Illinois is chlamydia and, after that, gonorrhea. However, the federal agency said there has been a 12 percent rise in the number of syphilis case since 2015. There’s also been a rise in gonorrhea cases as well.
In 2016, the U.S. had over two million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, with the highest rates seen in the 15-to-24-year-old range.
Mason urged people to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, as most people may have one and not experience any symptoms. He also said syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are treatable with a course of antibiotics. Mason urged sexually active individuals to use condoms to decrease their chances of catching an STD.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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