Saturday, June 28, 2008

STDs reach historic levels

And it's not just because the stripper town of Gulfport was flooded....

Taken from

STDs reach historic level
The Associated Press

DES MOINES -- Public health officials say the number of sexually transmitted diseases in Iowa are at new highs, and the greatest number of cases are reported among teenagers and young adults.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says total cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reached new records last year.

"The figures are alarming," said Tom Newton, state public health director. "It's especially concerning that we're seeing the greatest number of cases reported in teenagers and young adults."

The updated figures show a 67 percent increase in chlamydia cases over the last decade to more than 8,600 cases. Syphilis cases rose 52 percent over 10 years to 64, and gonorrhea cases rose 19 percent to 1,928.

About 74 percent of chlamydia cases and 60 percent of gonorrhea cases in Iowa were among people aged 15 to 24.

Iowa ranks 37 in the nation for number of chlamydia cases, 35th in gonorrhea and 43rd in primary and secondary syphilis, said Karen Thompson, the STD program manager for the health department.

The statistics are from 2006, the most recent available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We're not unique. This is happening all across the United States," Thompson said.

Some of the increased number of cases could be attributed to advanced testing techniques that didn't exist 10 years ago. However, the numbers have been increasing long enough to rule out more accurate testing as the only explanation for the increases.

The jump in the numbers is likely a combination of unprotected sex, improved testing capability and development of a focused approach that tests the populations most at risk, Thompson said.

"This is an issue that must be talked about openly," she said.

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