July 15, 2011
The continuing poor economy could partly be driving higher STD rates locally, say officials. "The more poverty increases, the more divorce rates increase, the more bad things happen on a social level -- that certainly would contribute to the transmission of STDs and other diseases as well," said Donald Brannen, an epidemiologist for the Greene County Combined Health District.
From 2006 to 2010, chlamydia rates in Miami County increased from 167.6 per 100,000 people to 230.5. During the same period, the chlamydia rate in Greene County increased from 198 per 100,000 to 316.6, and in Warren County from 103.6 to 171.7.
Though Montgomery County's STD rates did not show a significant change from 2006 to last year, the county's rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis still exceeded the state and national averages.
Jen Keagy, STD prevention program manager at the state Department of Health, said a lack of funds to conduct education and awareness outreach among 15- to 24-year-olds is a big part of the problem. "I think a combination of a lack of knowledge and diminishing resources has greatly contributed to our increase in cases," she said.