FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Minnesota reports significant increase in STD rates

In a new report from the Minnesota Department of Health, significant increases in the rates of some sexually transmitted diseases were noted from 2012 to 2013.

The state's overall STD rate increased by 10 percent, but syphilis rose by 64 percent and gonorrhea by 26 percent.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehliner said that the increased STD rates underscore the importance of prevention, testing and awareness.

"Untreated STDs can have serious health consequences," Ehlinger said. "Testing, diagnosing and treating these diseases in their early stages will prevent long-term health problems and slow their spread. Since most STDs don't show symptoms, it's important for sexually active people to get tested each year or when involved with a new partner."

Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all reportable STDs in Minnesota, which saw 23,133 cases total reported in 2013, up from 21,465 in 2012 and 19,547 in 2011.

Chlamydia, the most reported infectious disease in the state, rose by four percent, reaching a new high of 18,724 cases in 2013, up from 18,048 in 2012. The majority of reported cases were in teens and young adults between 15 and 24 years of age. Approximately one in three cases occurred in greater Minnesota.

The second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota - gonorrhea - had 3,872 cases reported in 2013 compared to 3,082 in 2012. Eighty percent of cases occurred in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

Syphilis cases rose to 193 in 2013 from 118 in 2012, with the majority of cases centered in the Twin Cities.

"These disparities exist among populations that have the fewest opportunities to access prevention programs and testing due to social, medical and/or income disadvantages," Ehlinger said. "We need to expand our partnerships with our most impacted communities to ensure these services are available and being used."