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Greenwich Village leads nabes for highest female gonorrhea rates

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Call it Gonorrhea Village – at least among the fairer sex.

Greenwich Village has seen the highest increase in gonorrhea among females, according to an amNewYork review of the latest city STD data.

From 2008 to 2010, the nabe’s female gonorrhea rate increased a whopping 57%, from 28 per 100,000 to 44 per 100,000. That far exceeds Manhattan’s rate increase of 2.1% in the same period.

Health officials and doctors said it’s difficult to pinpoint why it’s shot up in that particular neighborhood, although testing in general has improved.

“It’s a great thing that we’re capturing more people,” said Dr. David Bell, who practices adolescent medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “But the fact remains that people are not well-educated about sexually transmitted infections … besides just HIV.”

Surprisingly, the male gonorrhea rate per 100,000 in Greenwich Village actually declined more than 4% from 2008 to 2010 – the only Manhattan neighborhood to see a drop. (Gramercy Park had the highest rate increase – nearly 45% – in the borough.) Overall, it’s up 19% borough-wide for men.

According to the city Health Department, gonorrhea cases are on the rise, and the same test used to detect chlamydia also picks up gonorrhea as well.

“Since the increases are steeper among males than females, gonorrhea is probably increasing among men who have sex with men, as well as among heterosexual men and women,” health officials said in a statement.

Erica Sackin, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of New York City, said the city’s new mandate to teach sex ed for middle school and high school students, including how to use a condom, could help curb the spread of STDs.

“It’s about awareness. For every New Yorker, this needs to be something that should be talked about,” Sackin said. “If you don’t get tested, you’re not going to know.”

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STDs in NYC

• Chlamydia remains the most prevalent of the STDs that must be reported by doctors to the city.

• From 2008 to 2010, East Harlem saw the largest rate increase for female chlamydia rates per 100,000 in Manhattan, a 27.5% jump. Washington Heights ranked first for males, with a nearly 38% increase.

• There are also a significant number of syphilis cases, although they dropped in the first six months of 2011 compared to 2010.

• The city said certain communities can be more susceptible to STD increases because of the size of their at-risk populations and the existing prevalence of STDs. Dr. Bell added that low-income neighborhoods also are likelier to have higher rates because of less access to health care.

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Manhattan nabes with highest STD rate increases from 2008-2010

Female Chlamydia

1. East Harlem
2. Central Harlem
3. Union Square

Male Chlamydia

1. Washington Heights
2. Central Harlem
3. Union Square

Female Gonorrhea

1. Greenwich Village
2. East Harlem
3. Union Square

Male Gonorrhea

1. Gramercy Park
2. Chelsea
3. Union Square

Source: City Health Department data

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