August 21, 2008
Davis County health officials are projecting that gonorrhea and chlamydia infections there will decline in 2008, the first such drop in 10 years.
This year, Davis County is on target to have 180 chlamydia cases, down from 191 in 2006. And it is set to have just 11 gonorrhea cases, down from 20 in 2006. Reasons for the downturn include vigorous contact tracing and notification, as well as STD training for high school health teachers, Brian Hatch, county epidemiologist, told the Aug. 12 Board of Health meeting.
Statewide, those most at risk of an STD are youths under age 25, county health officials said. The department visited the Davis School District curriculum department last year to present "what we could offer," Hatch said. With the district's permission, staff members have also visited classrooms and adult role classes, teaching "very straightforward, how you get STDs, what they are." Health staff teach that abstinence is the "only sure way" not to get an STD; they are not allowed to discuss birth control or safe-sex practices.
A recent survey of the Weber/Morgan Health District, Salt Lake Valley, and Davis County health departments found that the most pressing concern for officials was improving and expanding sex education for students, parents, and the public, Hatch said.
The board also heard a presentation about expedited partner therapy. Health departments in Utah generally favor allowing people diagnosed with an STD to give medication to partners without a doctor's visit, said Lewis Garrett, the county health director. However, doctors opposing the bill fear STD patients' partners could have allergic reactions to the medication, Garrett said.