According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of of reported sexually-transmitted diseases in Missouri dropped between 2007 and 2008. Keep the celebration to a minimum, though -- there's still plenty in the data to cause concern.
In Kansas City, there were 4,735 reported cases of chlamydia in 2008, compared with 4,279 in 2007 -- a 10.7 percent increase. According to Jeff Hershberger, the spokesman for the Kansas City Health Department, the increase in chlamydia "could be in part due to the continued expansion of screening, use of more sensitive tests, and more complete national reporting systems."
Cases of gonorrhea in Kansas City decreased 8.8 percent, from 2,264 in 2007 to 2,064 in 2008.
Primary and secondary syphilis cases went down 39.2 percent between 2007 (102 cases) and 2008 (62 cases).
"This is the first year we've seen a decrease in syphilis since 2000," Hershberger says.
"We've been doing a lot of campaigning in the public to really focus on
that -- the big one was, 'Did you take PHIL home last night?'"
This CDC report shows that women still, as in previous years, suffer
higher rates of infection than men. Hershberger adds that Kansas City's
African-American population still shows a disproportionately high rate
of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, which is in line with the
national statistics as well.
"I really want to stress that
it's not your ethnicity or race that puts you at risk, it's what you
do," Hershberger says. "It's so important that everyone go out and be
tested, especially if you have multiple sexual partners." Using
protection every time and knowing your sexual partner's STD status is
Last year, the city's health department
offices at 2400 Troost saw 11,500 people come through for testing.
"Every day we have free services through our STD clinic -- that's
testing and treatment," Hershberger says. He advises calling ahead for
an appointment at 816-513-6379.