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Wrap It Up! STD Rates For African-Americans Are Four Times Higher Than White People In The US

Sexually transmitted diseases have surged for the fifth year.

As “Hot Girl Summer” begins to cool and cuffing season starts to reach a climax, an alarming report has surfaced revealing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have surged for the fifth year, and STD infection rates for African-Americans are four times higher than other populations. 

“Data highlighting the over-representation of sexually transmitted diseases in the African-American population is disappointing, but not shocking,” the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ Board vice president, Sandra Elizabeth Ford, MD, MBA, told The Charleston Chronicle.

Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea have surged for the fifth year, according to the newly released statistics on STDs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The 2018 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report states:


  • Primary and Secondary Syphilis – In 2018, primary and secondary syphilis was 4.7 times greater for Black females compared to White females and 4.8 times greater for Black males compared to White males. 

  • Gonorrhea – In 2018, Black males' reported rate was 8.5 times that of White males, and Black females' rate was 6.9 times that of White females. 

  • Chlamydia – In 2018, Black females were five times the rate among White females, and reported chlamydia cases among Black males was 6.8 times the rate among White males.

“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,” said Dr. Ford. 

She continued, “Until we take a hard look at these factors, we will continue to see the broad inequities in diseases prevalence that we are currently observing.”

According to the CDC, drug use, poverty, stigma and unstable housing are just a few of the multiple factors that are contributing to the overall increase in STDs, saying it “can reduce access to STD prevention and care.”

Other factors include decreased condom use among young people and gay and bisexual men, along with cuts to STD programs at the state and local level in recent years.

“At NACCHO, our mission is to improve the health of communities by strengthening and advocating for local health departments and supporting our minority communities to eliminate the long-standing gaps in care,” said NACCHO Chief of Programs and Services Oscar Alleyne, DrPH, MPH.

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) works diligently to reduce health disparities in minority communities. 

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