Local and Community News
Illinois: STDs Latest Teen Trend
April 28, 2003
Cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia are on the rise among youth ages 15-19 in McLean County, Ill. "Thirty to 40 percent of the cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia are among teens," said Jackie Lanier, who works in teen pregnancy and STD prevention for the McLean County Health Department. "That's just too high."Adapted from:
From 2001 to 2002, cases of gonorrhea in McLean County rose 25 percent, from 146 to 182, according to the health department. Among 15- to 19-year-olds, cases rose from 38 to 71. In 2000, there were 128 cases overall. "And we'll probably see an increase this year too," said Chris Shadewaldt, communicable diseases clinic supervisor at the health department.
Chlamydia cases rose 36 percent from 327 to 446. Cases among teens increased from 110 to 145. Between 1991 and 2000, gonorrhea cases in McLean County ranged from 110 to 222. Chlamydia cases ranged from 370 to 464.
One reason for the increase in McLean County is improved testing that began in July 2002, said Lanier and Shireen Martin, Planned Parenthood education programs coordinator. Now there is a single test for both STDs. In addition, Planned Parenthood is recommending the test for all female patients under age 23, and the health department is encouraging people who have tested positive for the disease to have their partners tested. Anecdotal evidence also indicates that more teens are engaging in sex -- and specifically in oral sex -- without the protection of a condom, Martin said.
The health department and the Bloomington health center of Planned Parenthood of East Central Illinois are organizing a forum for parents in May. The McLean County STD/HIV Prevention Forum -- which includes the health department, Planned Parenthood and other youth organizations -- asked 30 local businesses if they were interested in information for their employees on how to communicate with their kids about sexuality and drug abuse, and nine agreed.
Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)
04.21.03; Paul Swiech