High Herpes Rate Found in Metro Atlanta
Catherine E. Shoichet
July 31, 2003
A recent study showed that more than one-third of participants surveyed in
suburban Atlanta tested positive for the virus that causes genital herpes. The
study, presented recently
at a meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
in Ottawa, shows that patients in affluent suburbs are as likely as
lower-income patients to contract the
Only 5 percent of the 915 Atlanta-area patients had a history of genital
herpes, which can be asymptomatic. Atlanta had the highest rate of infection of
the six cities in the survey, and a higher rate than the national average of
about 25 percent.The study's authors used results from blood tests of patients at
six unidentified, randomly selected primary care physician's
offices in suburban Atlanta. Combining the Atlanta results with those of more
than 4,500 patients in suburbs of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and
Denver, researchers found that one in four patients tested positive.
"These findings help to break the stereotype that there are only certain
types of people that have herpes," said Douglas Fleming, the study's lead author
and an assistant professor at
the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.
The study may also have an impact on doctors. "When you talk to private
physicians, there's a tendency to think that isn't really true of their
population," said Peter Leone, co-author and
an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel
Hill. "If physicians don't believe that it's important for their patient
population... they may not think of
CDC estimates 1 million people are newly infected with the virus each year in
the United States.
"Study Says STD Risk Higher for Young Working Women"
August 1, 2003
Single, working women ages 18 to 25 are having even more unprotected sex,
with more partners, than college students, according to research released today
by Group Health. A telephone survey of 1,100 single women found that among
sexually active young women outside the college setting, 61 percent reported
having sex without a condom in the past three months, compared to 56 percent of
female college students. A higher percentage of
women ages 21 to 25 reported having unsafe sex than women ages 18 to 20.
Those with more sex partners were more likely to have unprotected sex than those
in monogamous relationships. Two-thirds of the women surveyed were from the
Puget Sound area, and
one-third from North Carolina.
Study co-author Delia Scholes, associate investigator at Group Health's
Center for Health Studies, said despite having unsafe sex, the young women weren't
worried about the risks.
Seventy-eight percent felt they were at low risk for contracting an STD.
Despite their feelings of immunity, this group is hard hit by STDs. About 70
percent of STDs diagnosed in Washington state are in women under 25. Also, 77
percent of the state's 15,000
reported cases of chlamydia last year were in women between 15 and 24.
Gonorrhea, the second most common Washington STD, infects women ages 20 to 24 more
than any other age group.
The findings are "very counterintuitive," according to Lisa Gilbert, director
of research at the American Social Health Association, an STD awareness
group. "You would certainly expect
they would get less wild, more mature and make better decisions as they get
older," she said. She speculated that safe sex is more on the minds of college
students, since safe sex messages proliferate on campus.
The full report, "Factors Associated with Condom Use Among At-Risk Women
Students and Nonstudents Seen in Managed Care," was published in the journal
Preventive Medicine (2003;37;(2):163-170).