Despite currently effective means of diagnosis and treatment, gonorrhea remains a major public health problem throughout the world. In 2005, 339,593 cases of gonorrhea were reported to the Centers for Disease Control by local and state health departments, (1) representing a nationwide population-based incidence case rateof 115/100,000. From 1975 through 1997, the national gonorrhea rate declined 74.3% following implementation of the national gonorrhea control program in the mid-1970s. Gonorrhea rates subsequently appeared to plateau for several years; however, the gonorrhea rate has decreased 11.8% from 2000 to 2004. An additional one to two cases are thought to occur for every reported case.(2) The highest rates are seen in adolescent women (aged 15-19 years) and young adult men (aged 20-24 years) representing, in part, sexual behavior patterns. Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease,(3,4) which in turn causes tubal factor infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Gonococcal infection also facilitates human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission.
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