Background: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported notifiable diseases in the United States (US). Historically, chlamydia and gonorrhea rates have been highest among adolescents and young adults.
Methods: We examined national chlamydia and gonorrhea case report data for 2003–2013 to assess burden of disease and trends in chlamydia and gonorrhea rates among adolescents aged 15–19 years in the US. Data for 2013 were preliminary and included cases reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of April 3, 2014. We estimated chlamydia screening coverage among sexually-active females aged 16–20 years enrolled in commercial and Medicaid healthcare plans using 2009–2012 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set data.
Results: Based on preliminary 2013 data, 389,640 chlamydia cases and 71,020 gonorrhea cases were reported among adolescents aged 15–19 years in the US, accounting for 28.2% and 21.6% of all reported chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, respectively. During 2003–2011, the adolescent chlamydia rate increased 40.9%, from 1,505.5 to 2,120.8 cases per 100,000 population. However, for the first time since national chlamydia reporting began, the rate decreased to 2,028.2 in 2012 and to 1,824.1 in 2013. The adolescent gonorrhea rate decreased 24.1% during 2003–2013, from 438.3 to 332.5, an historic low for this group. The estimated screening coverage among sexually-active females aged 16–20 years was stable during 2009–2012 (range 45.0%–46.7%), suggesting that decreased case rates were not a result of decreased screening.
Conclusions: In 2012, the adolescent chlamydia rate decreased for the first time on record, and the adolescent gonorrhea rate reached an historic low. Preliminary data indicate that rates among both male and female adolescents continued to decline in 2013. However, adolescents account for a large proportion of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, and burden of disease remains high in this group.