Minnesota reports 10 percent increase in STDs in 2012

The Minnesota Department of Health announced on Thursday that the total number of sexually transmitted diseases in the state increased 10 percent last year, including a 35 percent increase in cases of gonorrhea.

The three most reported STDs in Minnesota last year were chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Overall, there were 21,465 STDs reported last year compared to 19,547 cases in 2011 and 18,009 cases in 2010.

"Since most STDs don't show symptoms, it's important to get tested regularly if you're sexually active," Ed Ehlinger, the Minnesota commissioner of health, said.

Minnesotans experienced 18,048 cases of chlamydia in 2012, compared to 16,898 cases the year before. The jump represented a seven percent increase from year to year.

Gonorrhea cases rose 35 percent from 2,283 cases in 2011 to 3,082 cases in 2012.

"Gonorrhea had the largest increase last year," Ehlinger said. "Our epidemiologists and disease control specialists are currently investigating the data and we will develop a response plan in the next few months to work with our community partners and health care and public health providers."

The report by the MDH showed higher rates of infection for chlamydia and gonorrhea among American Indians and communities of color when compared to whites.

Syphilis cases decreased eight percent from 366 cases in 2011 to 335 cases in 2012.

"The encouraging news within the report shows that we had a drop in syphilis cases," Ehlinger said. "This could be a result of investing in community-based agencies such as the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic and the Stop Syph MN Campaign."

Health officials emphasized that anyone who is sexually active can get an STD and it is important to get tested each year, whether or not symptoms are shown.

"Partners of STD infected patients also need to get tested and treated at the same time to prevent re-infection," Ehlinger said. "Health care providers are responsible for making a reasonable attempt to assure treatment of sex partners. Expedited partner therapy or EPT can help providers treat the partners of their patients."