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Youth and adults under 30 at greater risk of STDs and HIV

Posted by db last modified November 14, 2010

A new report of HIV/AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea among youth (teens 15-19y) and young adults (20-29) show increases in cases reported to public health. Released November 3, 2010.

Youth and adults under 30 at greater risk of STDs and HIV

Chlamydia cases reported to teens 15-19 years in 2009

A new report (link) compiled by the Cleveland Department of Public Health details the increases in HIV/AIDS, syphilis, Chlamydia and gonorrhea among young adults under the age of 30 for 2009. Data on Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are presented.


  • More cases of HIV in Cuyahoga County are occurring annually to persons age 20-29 than ever before. In 2009, 38% of all new HIV and AIDS diagnoses were to young adults in this age group, the highest on record.
  • Since 2004, 56 teens were diagnosed with HIV in Cuyahoga County, obtained primarily due to sex with other infected individuals (i.e. not from an infected mother or from injection drug use.)
  • In 2009, 15% (19) of the 126 cases of primary, secondary and early syphilis were among teens age 13 to 19 years old. Among the 13 teens reported for Cleveland, 12 were black. 44% (56) of the new cases were age 20 to 29 years old.
  • Approximately 1.4% of the Cleveland population were Chlamydia in 2009, making it the most common sexually transmitted disease reported to public health.
  • 54% and 44% of all Chlamydia cases reported in 2009 were among teens 15-19 and and young adults age 20-29 years, respectively.


More cases and more reporting

The increase in Chlamydia and gonorrhea was believed to be due in part to two causes.

First, a major health system in the area began to report these STDs electronically to the Ohio Department of Health, avoiding use of paper and data entry. Second, more cases appear to be being reported among all major health systems and most clinic systems in the county.  So, improved surveillance should mean an temporary increase in case counts in 2009 and 2010 as other local health systems begin electronic reporting to ODH.

More education needed

To stem the tide of these trends, youth and young adults need more comprehensive sexual health education, greater use of barrier protection (condoms, dental dams) and greater awareness of the importance to make smart decisions when it comes to partners and sex. Avoiding sexual intercourse will certainly prevent transmission, but STDs like syphilis can be easily spread between partners only when the lesions are covered. This is not often the case when lesions occur in area beyond the genitals. Know your partner, know your risks.


The report was produced by the CDPH, in cooperation with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Shaker Heights Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health.


Keywords: County, Disparity, HIV/AIDS, Local, Maps, Maternal Infant and Child Health, Municipal, Pregnancy, STD, Safe Sex, Statistics, Teens

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