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STD Trends in the United States: 2010 National Data for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis

This web page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated. Newer data is available on the STD Data and Statistics page.


GonorrheaChlamydiaSyphilis (Primary and Secondary)
Current Burden
  • Cases reported in 2010: 309,341
  • Rate per 100,000 people: 100.8
  • Cases reported in 2010: 1,307,893
  • Rate per 100,000 people: 426.0

Primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis, the most infectious stages of the disease:

  • Cases reported in 2010: 13,774
  • Rate per 100,000 people: 4.5
Trends Over Time
  • Reported gonorrhea rates have hit historically low levels in recent years - down 16% from four years ago - though cases are still far too common in the United States.
  • In addition, concerning patterns are emerging that could foreshadow potential treatment failures to the only available gonorrhea treatment option. For this reason, it is critical to increase gonorrhea screening and carefully monitor treatment outcomes.
  • Chlamydia diagnoses increased 5% over the past year and are up 27% from four years ago.
  • From 2000 to 2010, the chlamydia screening rate among young women nearly doubled (from 25% to 48%).
  • However, data suggest that most young women are still not getting screened. CDC estimates that there are 2.8 million chlamydia cases annually – more than twice the number actually reported.
  • For the first time in a decade, the number of new syphilis cases in the United States decreased in 2010, though it is too soon to tell if this is the start of a new trend.
  • Syphilis decreased 21% among women, but increased slightly - by 1.3% - among men in 2010.

Many of the same social and economic factors that place African Americans and Latinos at risk for other diseases also fuel the spread of STDs in these communities. For example, people who don’t have the means to see a doctor may not get an STD test or treatment until it’s too late—and nearly one in five African Americans and one in three Latinos are uninsured. Other factors, such as greater STD prevalence in communities of color, can increase an individual’s risk of infection, even with similar levels of risk behavior. Distrust of the medical system may also cause some African Americans to access health services less, and language barriers may affect quality of and access to care for some Latinos. These factors provide an important reminder that while everyone has a personal responsibility to protect their own health, it is also critical to address the root causes of these disparities.

Overall, African Americans are most affected by gonorrhea. Young black women bear the heaviest burden, and young Hispanic men and women are also affected.
  • Blacks accounted for 69% of all gonorrhea cases in 2010.
  • The gonorrhea rate among young black women aged 15-19 was 2,032.4 per 100,000; the rate among those aged 20-24 was 1,997.6 per 100,000.
  • Among Hispanics, young women and men aged 20-24 have the highest gonorrhea rates, which are higher than those among whites in the same age group (237.2 per 100,000 for Hispanic women v. 156.7 for white women; 191.4 per 100,000 for Hispanic men v. 78.2 for white men).
Chlamydia disproportionately affects African Americans, and young black women are especially hard hit. Young Hispanic men and women are most affected among Hispanics.
  • The infection rate among blacks was nine times higher than whites and three times higher than Hispanics (1,383.0 per 100,000 for blacks v. 156.1 for whites and 467.9 for Hispanics).
  • The chlamydia rate among young black women aged 15-19 was 7,719.1 per 100,000.
  • Among Hispanics, young women and men aged 20-24 have the highest chlamydia rates, which are twice as high as those among whites in the same age group (2,714.4 per 100,000 Hispanic women v. 1,357.9 for white women; 833.0 per 100,000 Hispanic men v. 415.4 for white men).
Men who have sex with men and African Americans are most affected by P&S syphilis.
  • MSM accounted for two thirds (67%) of all P&S syphilis cases in 2010.
  • Blacks made up nearly half of all cases (48%) in 2010.
  • P&S syphilis cases among young black men aged 20-24 have increased significantly from four years ago. Other CDC data show syphilis increased dramatically among young black MSM during a similar time period, indicating that the increase among young black men is likely driven by MSM.
CDC RecommendationsCDC recommends yearly gonorrhea screening for at-risk sexually active women (e.g., those with new or multiple sex partners, and women who live in communities with a high burden of disease).CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for young women aged 25 and under, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.CDC recommends that sexually active men who have sex with men be tested at least annually for syphilis (as well as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV). MSM who have multiple or anonymous partners should be screened more frequently (i.e., at 3 to 6 month intervals).