UPDATE: Shows the latest numbers from the CDC.
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Some 400 new people were diagnosed with gonorrhea last year in the city, according to a report on sexually transmitted diseases to be released today by the Health Department.
Health Director Pam Walker says gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are all up, but she says it’s not because of any cuts she has made to fight sexually transmitted disease.
“I have not cut communicable disease control in the five years that I’ve been director,” Walker said.
Without yet calling for funding increases, Walker warns that reducing STDs could be an expensive public policy problem.
“If I put 20 disease investigators in the field and they followed those 55 people around who have syphilis, could I probably get rid of it?” Walker asked, “Yeah, but that would cost about $400,000.”
Walker is calling on private providers and community clinics to help her locate the sex partners of people with known sexual diseases.
“If you have gonorrhea, then your partner probably has gonorrhea,” Walker said, “I need to talk to that partner and find out if they have three other partners, or we never break the chain.”
Walker says the latest number show gonorrhea up 31 percent, reversing what had been strong declines in recent years. Syphilis was also up about 46 percent with 57 known cases. The number of chlamydia cases rose about three-percent to stand around 4,516, Walker said.
Speaking in general terms in advance of the report’s release, Walker also noted that HIV cases were up slightly, and AIDS cases down, because more people with HIV are getting treatement before it transitions into AIDS.