Health Awarelets: Beer and Gonorrhea!

The CDC in Atlanta, GA. released results of a study that indicates that as the cost of beer increases, the gonorrhea rates could decrease by nearly 9%. The study analyzed gonorrhea rates in teens 15 to 19 and young adults 20 to 24 in states in the year following an increase in state beer tax. Among the states that increased taxes, two-thirds posted a decrease in gonorrhea rates, and three-fourths showed a decrease for young adults. The CDC said that, with few exceptions, most studies have demonstrated that alcohol consumption declines after alcohol tax-increases.

Why would reduced beer consumption equate to lower rates of gonorrhea? When teenagers drink, "they are more likely to have sex and more likely to have sex without a condom, with multiple partners, and with high-risk partners," said Harrell Chesson, author of the study. Preliminary analysis shows a similar decline on the syphilis rate.

Centers for Disease Control. As reported in Los Angeles Times, Friday, April 28, 2000 by Marlene Cimons, Times writer.

Comment: About 67% of all cases of sexually transmitted disease in the US are reported in teens or young adults under the age of 25. With a reported 16 million cases annually, it is intriguing to consider that by simply raising the tax levied on a bottle of beer, transmission of over a million and half STDs might be prevented.

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