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Sexually transmitted diseases on the rise in Carroll County

Published: June 15, 2017 12:00 AM

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, human papillomavirus are all examples of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) that one can expose themselves to by not taking the proper precautions when engaging in sexual activities. The most commonly reported sexually transmitted diseases in Carroll County are chlamydia and gonorrhea.

"I really feel like there are a lot of people who are not thinking they could be at risk and they're not getting tested, so that's something that really needs to change," said Natasha Yonley, MPH, Carroll County General Health District Epidemiologist. In 2014 there were 71 chlamydia and 10 gonorrhea cases in Carroll County.

In 2015 and 2016 the numbers decreased each year; there were 59 and 50 cases of chlamydia in those respective years. During the same period, there were 10 cases and 7 cases of gonorrhea. As of May 24, 2017, there have been 25 cases of chlamydia and 5 cases of gonorrhea reported in Carroll County.

The growing number of reported cases could be due in part to an increase in the population, the increase availability of online dating sites, and the use of social media.

"I think it's more just the way people are meeting each other, and it's a lot easier to travel from town to town and find new partners very quickly and not use protection. If you're having sex with multiple partners and not using protection, you really need to be tested and treated to protect yourself and those partners." Yonley said.

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The health department says if you have any questions or suspect you may have been exposed to someone with an STD, don't hesitate to get tested. The Carroll County General Health District wants to remind residents that if you leave an STD untreated they can lead to long term health issues such as infertility and other infections.

"Many STDs don't have any symptoms, if you don't get tested, you're not going to know and you're not going to be able to get treated," Yonley said.

There are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies. For all individuals who are sexually active particularly young people STD screening and prompt treatment (if infected) are critical to protect a person's health and prevent transmission to others.

The Carroll County General Health District offers STD testing to residents on an appointment basis Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The Reproductive Health Clinic, offered every other Wednesday by appointment, provides reproductive health education, free condoms, and several birth control options.

For more information regarding Sexually Transmitted Disease prevention contact the Carroll County General Health District at 330-627- 4866 ext. 1530.


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