Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea In a new report, Tennessee ranks in the top 10 for three STDs in the nation; eighth for syphilis, ninth for chlamydia, tenth for gonorrhea By Johnathon Schleicher Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2007 Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2009 Tennessee ranks in the top 10 in the nation in three different sexually transmitted diseases. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that Tennessee has placed eighth for Syphilis infections, ninth for Chlamydia, and 10 for Gonorrhea. Though these diseases can be treated with antibiotics, the direct medical cost associated with STDs is estimated to be around $14.7 billion annually. The number of cases in Tennessee surged for all three STDs between 2002 and 2006, the Associated Press reported. Jennifer Ruth, spokeswoman from the Centers for Disease Control, stated in the article that Tennessee is not the only one who suffered from the increase. "Cases increased nationally…… what this data does is serve as a reminder that STDs still pose a major health risk," Ruth said. There are 3.5 times more men with syphilis than women. Syphilis is spread through direct contact from person to person, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site stated. The best treatment to date is Penicillin. Chlamydia is caused by bacteria known as Chlamydia Trachomatis, and is spread by intercourse with an infected partner. It is the most frequently reported STD in America and can be treated with antibiotics. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. It is estimated that 700,000 people in the United States are infected every year. Only half of these infections are reported to CDC. Gonorrhea can be cured by several antibiotics in adolescents and adults, but drug resistant strains are developing. According to the National Prevention Information Network, despite having 19 million new infections annually and having billions of dollars of the nation's healthcare cost, many Americans are still unaware of the dangers of STDs. Corey Harper, a nursing major at MTSU, said it is not shocking that Tennessee is ranked so high nationally for STDs. "I don't know anyone personally who said they have an STD, but I know some of them do," said Harper. "They just do not talk about it. People should tell their partners what they have before having sex." STDs affect everyone, but women and infants with infected mothers and young adults have an increased risk. Some of the factors causing the increase of STDs in America are teenagers who are sexually active at a younger age, and sexually active teenagers are hesitant to receive STD services; 15-24 year olds represent nearly half of all new STDs each year. `The National Prevention Information Network's Web site also states the most reliable methods to avoid becoming infected with an STD are to abstain from sexual intercourse, and maintain a long term monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the transmission of STDs. To further reduce the risk of an STD infection, regular testing for HIV and other STDs is recommended.