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U.S. News

Mississippi: STDs in Teens Increase in Bolivar County

April 24, 2008

A rise in STDs, especially among teenagers, has the Mississippi Department of Health concerned. According to the department, the northwestern Health Districts 1 and 3 have posted increases in STDs among those under 18. District 1 covers Coahoma County and eight other counties and District 3 comprises Bolivar, Sunflower, Washington, and six other counties.

In response, "We are beefing up our field staff and are trying to screen more and find more contacts of those who have these [STDs]," said state Epidemiologist Mary Currier.

The health department is also asking the Legislature for more funding. STDs have a natural cycle of increases and decreases, said Currier, who believes the recent rise may have something to do with insufficient levels of field staff who track sex partners.

"One of the things the health department does with every syphilis and HIV case is to find their contacts, people who have had sex with those who are known to have the disease, and find out who their contacts are," said Currier. "We don't tell them who named them, but we do tell them they have been named. We offer testing. Both contacts are given education. And we try and prevent their exposure in the future."

"It's crucial that we educate teenagers about STDs," said Currier. "Any step that is in addition to what they normally do takes an effort, an effort many do not want to make," she said. "We try to impress upon people to protect themselves. To help them understand that this is important."

"Certainly people are not using contraceptives that are to prevent [STDs]," said Currier. "Parents really should talk to adolescents about sexual behavior."

Back to other news for April 2008

Adapted from:
Bolivar Commercial
04.23.2008; Aimee Robinette

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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.
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