Health officials express concern over STD rates in Idaho
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Residents of Idaho District No. 4, which covers Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties, should be sure to practice safer sex. That's because according to the Central District Health Department (CDHD), sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates are on the rise in the area. Boise Weekly reports that syphilis and chlamydia numbers, in particular, are up and health officials are concerned about how to encourage people to visit STD testing centers in Boise.
The area has already reported 21 confirmed cases of syphilis in 2012, compared to only 11 cases in all of 2011.
"Right now, we're up 200 percent," said Sarah Correll, CDHD epidemiologist, quoted by the news source. "When you consider that each of the confirmed cases is typically linked to multiple partners, it grows exponentially. And, yes, if it continues at this rate, it looks like we could be up 400 percent from last year."
The majority of new STD cases in the CDHD's district were discovered in men aged 24 to 45. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, syphilis has been on the rise in men who have sex with men in the U.S. This is a major health problem, considering that having syphilis increases a person's risk of developing HIV, which suggests that these syphilis rates may explain the rise in HIV in this population.
Daniel Allen, a youth outreach director with the CDHD, said that another problem is that young people have misconceptions about STDs. For example, he's heard teens say that people can't contract an STD or get pregnant if they have sex in a hot tub, which is obviously not true. It's important for young people to know the truth about STDs, so they can keep themselves safe.
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