ATLANTA — Gonorrhea climbed 9% in the United States in 1998 after 12 straight years of decline, the government reported Thursday.
Debra Mosure, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speculated that the safe-sex practices that were adopted because of AIDS are being abandoned because of the introduction of more effective drugs against the virus.
"There does seem to be some real increases in the overall number of gonorrhea cases due to unsafe sexual behavior," she said.
Some states said improved testing was partly responsible for the increase in reported cases.
A 50-state CDC survey found a 9% increase in the rate of gonorrhea--from 121.8 cases per 100,000 people in 1997 to 132.9 per 100,000 in 1998.