Health officials in Salt Lake County, Utah, are calling for better education for youth on STDs. This is because two STDs—chlamydia and gonorrhea—topped the charts as the most prevalent diseases in the county.
According to the Infections Diseases Morbity Report 2018, Chlamydia ranked as the most common disease, followed by gonorrhea in second. Hepatitis C was third, influenza fourth, and tuberculosis was fifth.
There were over 5,000 cases of chlamydia reported. Many cases had gonorrhea as a co-infection. Gonorrhea had close to 2,000 cases reported and was predominately reported in males.
“This is alarming, and an indicator that our current approach to sexually transmitted disease education is not working. Teens need accurate, realistic, and comprehensive STD education,” said Gary Edwards, Salt Lake County Health Department executive director.
Edwards recommends further education at school, church, or another appropriate setting that stresses the importance of safe sex practices, how STDs are spread, STD symptoms (along with education on asymptomatic STDs), and the importance of regular testing.
Edwards strongly encourages all sexually active youth be routinely tested for STDs. This is because many STDs don’t have symptoms and may go unnoticed by teens. If their STD is symptomatic, many teens may feel embarrassed to ask for help or get tested. Routine testing is the best way to stop the spread of infection.
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