Slate.com has published a story titled "Keeping Track of Genital Herpes" a critique of The Center for Disease Control's management of Herpes and HPV.
According to the article, syphilis and chlamydia both went up in 2006 - more than a million cases of chlamydia and 37,000 cases of syphilis were reported in the new CDC report.
Those numbers shy in comparison to the cases of herpes and HPV - which constitute an estimated 19 million new cases of STD's this year. But the CDC has no official stats on those diseases, and no plans for studies in the near future.
This is in part due to the fact that herpes and HPV are very difficult to diagnose. One in five adults has herpes simplex type 2, but only 10% of those people have any idea that they have it. Doctors struggle to diagnose the diseases, especially when their patients have no symptoms- common for both the diseases. Blood tests for the diseases turn up an alarming number of false positives.
The slate article proposes this reasoning fo a lack of data on herpes and HPV: the CDC hasn't taken greater strides to document herpes and HPV cases because doing so can't help doctors treat more patients. After all, there is a cure for syphilis and chlamydia, but no cure has been discovered for either HPV or herpes.
Is there no cure because research institutions aren't feeling the pressure because they aren't getting the numbers on new incidents of the disease? You can see how this could become a vicious cycle.
Additionally, the article states that chlamydia only got on the official CDC STD list in 1990, after a push by a congressionally funded program to prevent infertility.
If herpes and HPV are difficult to diagnose, and therefore difficult to track, and if a cure is not being sought by researchers, than perhaps we can create awareness by emphasizing HPV's link to cervical cancer, and infertility.
Published On: November 28, 2007