Helena and Central Montana | Montana's News Leader®

CDC: STD rates in Montana are alarming

HELENA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the number of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) continues to rise at an alarming rate in the United States.

Nearly 2.3 million STD cases were diagnosed last year — a record-breaking number, which surpasses the previous record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases.

The new numbers from the CDC show chlamydia is common, but there is a concerning rise in cases of gonorrhea and syphilis.

All three are curable with antibiotics.

However, gonorrhea is increasingly resistant to most drugs used to treat it.

Montana is one of the states where syphilis activity has grown exponentially over the past two years.

According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, between 2014 and 2016, Montana averaged about one reported case each month.

On average, in 2017 and 2018, that rate has grown to about one case a week.

Health officials said the biggest person at risk are men who have sex with men.

Women have been affected, which has created a concern, because the disease can pose a serious risk for unborn children.

Health officials said dating and social media apps have helped the spread of the disease.

Helen Mccaffrey,  a Communicable Disease Epidemiologist, said, “We want the rates down again. Nation-wide we’re concerned about the number of rate of STD’s in Montana, and want to get the word out about testing. Work with our local health department on prevention activities so that we can reverse this trend.”

Yellowstone County reported the most cases this year with 10, followed by Missoula with seven cases.

Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. However, some damage by the disease is permanent, such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Free help is offered by local health departments and family clinics.

For more information you can go here to find clinics and more.

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