STD Rise Is Big Utah Worry
March 27, 2007
Though the STD is on the decline nationally, Utah's gonorrhea rate spiked 195 percent from 231 cases in 2000 to 896 in 2005. According to CDC, the jump is nearly five times the increase found in other Western states. For the same period, chlamydia cases in the state rose 110 percent, from 2,188 in 2000 to 4,602 in 2005, state health department figures show.
"Gonorrhea and chlamydia have reached new heights. We're setting records, and not the kind of records we want," said Tim Lane, manager for the state health department's STD Control Program.
Health officials say the increases are due to a number of factors, including a lack of awareness about STDs, enhanced testing, and improved reporting methods among health agencies. Utah law requires that chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV be reported to either local health departments or the state.
"We're afraid that we're going to see the increase with HIV, as well," said Lane. "It's the same behavior that leads to all these diseases." Herpes and human papillomavirus are another concern. Reporting of these two STDs to health departments is not required, thus they are more difficult to track with certainty, Lane said.
The Utah Department of Health is offering free chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV tests at locations throughout the state, April 16-20. For information about locations, telephone 801-538-6171.
Deseret Morning News
3.22.2007; Joseph M. Dougherty; Angie Welling
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.