MDH: Concerning rise in new STD, hepatitis C cases in 2016

MDH: Concerning rise in new STD, hepatitis C cases in 2016

Almost 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the United States every year costing the American healthcare system almost $16 million in direct medical costs alone, says a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Minnesota saw significant increases past year in sexually transmitted disease cases, and state health officials are warning of a worsening trend among drug users, particularly those using heroin, prescription opiates and methamphetamine.

Rates of new hepatitis C infections also increased 38 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, and over half of the new cases reported injection drug use, according to a news release. The number of HIV cases stayed the same.

The most recent statistics from the Indiana Department of Health report 108 cases of gonorrhea, 668 cases of chlamydia, and almost 70 people living with HIV/AIDS in the Health Connection service areas of Knox, Daviess and Vigo counties.

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota with 5,104 cases reported in 2016, a 25 percent increase from past year.

Gonorrhea remained the second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota with 5,104 cases reported in 2016 compared to 4,097 in 2015, a 25 percent increase.

The state's report showed a trend of STDs, HIV and hepatitis C affecting young people and minorities.

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Minorities were hit hard by chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2016.

Injected drug users and sexually active people to be tested at least once per year for STDs, HIV and hepatitis C, they said.

"These diseases usually do not show physical symptoms immediately", said Kristen Ehresmann, who directs infectious disease work at the Health Department. STD screening and early diagnoses are essential in preventing transmission and the long term health consequences of STDs.

Syphilis cases reported in 2016 rose 30 percent to 852 from 653 the year before. Effective prevention methods include consistent and correct condom use during sex, limiting the number of sexual partners and not sharing injection drug, tattoo and piercing equipment, health officials say.

Officials also encouraged the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis, a prescription medication that can help reduce the risk of HIV infection.

For more details, read the Health Department's annual STD report.

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