The Minnesota Department of Health reported a 10 percent rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Minnesota from 2011 to 2012.
Total reported cases by year:
Chlamydia is the number one reported infectious disease in Minnesota and had a 7 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. There were 18,048 cases reported in 2012 compared to 16,898 in 2011. Teens and young adults ages 15-24 reported a majority of the cases.
Health officials are calling upon sexually active people to get tested regularly and take steps to prevent STDs. Catching a disease in its early stages is the best way to prevent long term health consequences and to help stop their spread, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger said.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in the state, with a 35 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. Around 80 percent of those cases were reported in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
The report says there are higher infection rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea among communities of color and American Indians when compared to whites. Disparities exist among populations that have fewer opportunities to access regular testing and prevention programs, Ehlinger said.
There was an 8 percent drop in syphilis cases with 335 in 2012 compared to 366 the previous year. Males in the Twin Cities reported the most cases.
Potential health consequences of untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea:
> Infertility in women and men
> Transmission from woman to newborn children, causing premature delivery, infant pneumonia and blindness.
> Untreated gonorrhea can be life-threatening when it spreads to organs and joints
Potential health consequences of untreated syphilis:
> Mental illness
"Since most STDs don't show symptoms, it's important to get tested regularly if you're sexually active," Ehlinger said.
Minnesota Department of Health STD prevention tips:
> Get tested each year
> Get tested when involved with a new partner
> Abstain from sexual contact
> Delay the start of sexual activity
> Limit the number of sexual partners
> Always use latex condoms during sex
> Avoid sharing needles for drug use, piercing or tattooing
"Partners of STD infected patients also need to get tested and treated at the same time to prevent re-infection," Ehlinger said.
Expedited partner therapy or EPT allows health care providers to give prescriptions or medications through their patients who have tested positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea. The patient can then give those medications to his or her sexual partners.
Minnesota Department of Health resources:
The complete Minnesota STD Surveillance Report – 2012: http://www.health.state.mn.us/std
The Minnesota Chlamydia Partnership (MCP): http://www.health.state.mn.us/mcp
The MDH Partner Services Program: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/stds/partnerservices.html
MN Infertility Prevention Project: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/chlamydia/mcp/strategy/Section6AddressingChlamydiainUSandMN.pdf
For confidential information about the prevention, testing locations and treatment of STDs, call the Minnesota Family Planning & STD Hotline, toll free, at 1-800-78-FACTS (voice or TTY), 651-645-9360 (Metro area), or visit their website at: http://sexualhealthmn.org/