Federal Data Shows a Huge Racial Disparity in Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released an alarming new study that shows major rises in cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. The data shows that cases of gonorrhea are up 63 percent since 2014 and the incidence of syphilis is up more than 70 percent during this period. It is important for college and university health officials to be aware of this trend so that they may target education and prevention programs for at-risk groups.

Most alarming is the fact that syphilis rates are 4.7 times greater for Black women compared to White women and 4.8 times greater for Black men compared to White men. For gonorrhea, the rate for Black men were 8.5 times that of White men. For women, the Black rate was 6.9 times the rate for Whites.

For cases of chlamydia, the rate for Black women was five times the rate for White women. For men, the Black rate was 6.8 times the rate for Whites.

According to Sandra Elizabeth Ford, the vice president of the board of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, “data highlighting the overrepresentation of sexually transmitted diseases in the African- American population is disappointing, but not shocking. More emphasis must be placed on those issues that present barriers to prevention and care of not only STDs but other chronic diseases, such as poverty and lack of insurance, as well as racism. Until we take a hard look at these factors, we will continue to see the broad inequities in disease prevalence that we are currently observing.”

Dr. Ford received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and a medical degree from Howard University’s College of Medicine in Washington.D.C. She also holds an MBA with a concentration in health services administration from Howard University’s Graduate School of Business.

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