CDC Study: NYC counties among top in nation with highest STD cases

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A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that several New York City boroughs ranked among the top in the United States for the number of STDs.

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise across the nation and some of the boroughs are seeing some of the highest numbers of cases.

Director of infectious diseases at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, Dr. Michael Augenbraun, spoke with News 12 about the several factors that contribute to the increase.

One factor, he says, is an unclear conversation between patients and doctors about sexual experiences.

Last year Kings County ranked No. 6 in the nation for cases of chlamydia with more than 21,000 cases. Bronx County came in ninth with more than 17,000 cases and Manhattan coming in No. 10, also with more than 17,000 cases.

"The problem with chlamydia is that it may be asymptomatic, and you may not know you have it,” says Dr. Augenbraun.

Statistics for gonorrhea are lower. Dr. Augenbraun says it usually produces symptoms ranging from painful urination to discharge from the genitals.

In 2018, Manhattan had the third highest in the nation with over 9,000 cases. Brooklyn was sixth with more than 7,500 cases of gonorrhea and the Bronx was thirteenth with more than 5,200 cases.

As for the numbers for syphilis, New York County coming in fourth with over 600 cases, Kings County coming in tenth with nearly 500 cases and Bronx County had nearly 460.

Syphilis is a disease that, if not treated, could lead to significant health problems.

"Brain infection, eye infection, bone infection. It can make people very sick,” says Dr. Augenbraun.

The doctor saying numbers are particularly high among men who have sex with other men, but he says it all comes down to the level of risk.

"I would offer that the same is true for heterosexual men and heterosexual women. If you're having unprotected sex with a partner or partners, you probably should be screened at least once, if not more often, during the year and again we can do those things right here in our clinic,” says Dr. Augenbraun.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County offers an STD clinic with a full range of services, including rapid testing and treatment on location.
Dr. Augenbraun says the number one recommendation from medical professionals when it comes to STDs is to always use protection.

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