HBCU Writers's Project
For Immediate Release
April 06, 2010
Contact Information

Portia Mazone
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

(BPRW) STD Awareness Month

(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – April is National Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Awareness Month. National STD Awareness Month is a national health observance sponsored by the American Social Health Association (ASHA) to alert the public about the growing crisis of STDs in America. According to ASHA, an estimated 65 million Americans are living with a viral STD and one in two Americans will contact an STD at some point in their lifetimes.

STDs affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24. Even though STDs do not discriminate, statistics have shown that African American communities have been affected by STDs disproportionately.

According to the CDC, blacks represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, yet account for almost half of all reported Chlamydia and syphilis cases, more than 70 percent of all reported gonorrhea cases, and almost half of new HIV infections. In addition, new CDC data show that one in five women (21 percent) is infected with herpes (HSV-2), as are more than one-third of blacks overall (39.2 percent), and almost half of black women (48 percent).

Dr. Kevin Fenton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several studies provide additional evidence of what works to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including retesting for Chlamydia after initial treatment to monitor for repeat infections and expedited partner therapy.

"As the studies presented…, the disparities in STD rates among women, African-Americans, and gay and bisexual men remain stark," Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said in a statement. "Given everything we know about how to prevent, diagnose and treat STDs, it is unacceptable that STDs remain such a widespread public health problem in the United States today."