MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – State health officials say the number of sexually transmitted diseases continued to rise in 2018, with increases in gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV.
The Minnesota Department of Health released its annual sexually transmitted disease (STD) report Tuesday, saying that disparities remain in regards to communities of color and men who have sex with men.READ MORE: Elk River Teacher's Discussion On Police Violence And Unrest Angers Some Parents
The most sizable increase, according to the new data, was seen in the number of gonorrhea cases, which saw a 16% increase from 2017. The total number of new cases was 7,542.
Gonorrhea is the second-most reported STD in the state, with most of the cases occurring in the Twin Cities metro area, affecting a significant number of young people between the ages of 15 to 24.
The numbers for chlamydia, the most common STD reported in Minnesota, increased by 2% over 2017, with 23,564 cases. Chlamydia affects mostly teens and young adults, and at least four cases have been confirmed in each Minnesota county.
As for HIV, the numbers were slightly up, with 286 new cases in 2018 over 280 cases in 2017.READ MORE: 'Unbelievable' Pandemic Furniture Demand Causing Extreme Delivery Delays
Health officials say that more than three-fourths of new HIV cases were reported by men. Additionally, 59% percent of new cases were reported by people of color.
While the overall numbers for syphilis were down 2% from 2017, health officials say there were 10 cases of congenital syphilis, which affects fetuses or infants and can result in miscarriages, birth defects and infant death.
Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the state medical director, says it’s important for pregnant women to be tested for syphilis at least twice during pregnancy.
Testing & Prevention
Health officials say that the only way some people can determine if they have an STD is if they get tested, as many of the infections may show no immediate symptoms.
Screening for STDs is easy and accurate. For information on where to get an STD test, click here.MORE NEWS: Unnecessary Roughness? Former Gophers Claim Tough Practices Ended Football Careers
As for prevention, effective methods include proper condom use and not sharing injection drugs, or tattooing or piercing needles.