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2013 - 2017 West Virginia STD Surveillance
STDs by Public Health District:
Chlamydia is the most proliferous of the reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in West Virginia with 4,128 infections (222.8 population rate per 100,000) in 2017, showing a decrease of 12.4% from 4,718 cases (254.6 population rate per 100,000) in 2016. Chlamydia is seen most often among the 15 to 29 year-old age group which accounts for 70.1% (N=2,895) of all reported cases. The greatest disparity is seen among the African American race at 1,116.8 (N=705) by population rate per 100,000, followed by Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders with a population rate of 467.3 (N=2), while Caucasians make up the greatest percentage of cases at 64% (N=2,653). Chlamydia is curable using 1 dose of azithromycin (1 gram), but reinfection can occur if the sexual partner is not treated. The consequences of untreated chlamydia are greater with women and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease leading to infertility.
Gonorrhea has the next highest incidence of STDs in West Virginia with 1,301 reported cases in 2017, an increase of 38.2% from 2016 (N=941). Gonorrhea infection is most prevalent among 15 to 29 year-old females (N=432, 33%) and 20 to 34 year-old-males (N=412, 32%). Disparity is greater among the African American race at 692.3 (N=437, 34%) by population rate per 100,000. Gonorrhea is being monitored for increased antibiotic resistance and currently no new treatment regimen has been developed. It is vitally important to treat gonorrhea infections according to the CDC recommended treatment guidelines. Just like chlamydia, gonorrhea can cause infertility issues in women if left untreated.
Syphilis infections decreased 8% in 2017 (N=95) from 2016 (N=103). Historically, syphilis was found among the men having sex with men (MSM) population until 2016 when the heterosexual population in West Virginia exceeded MSM in the number of total infections. For 2017, there were two cases of congenital syphilis; one stillbirth and one baby that was successfully treated after birth. The CDC now recommends syphilis testing early in the third trimester among high risk pregnant females to allow time for adequate treatment before birth. Syphilis can be cured with proper treatment, but left untreated may cause various neurological manifestations including vision loss (ocular syphilis), difficulty coordinating muscle movements, or paralysis.