MT DPPHS reports increase in sexually-transmitted diseases - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

MT DPPHS reports increase in sexually-transmitted diseases

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HELENA - State and local public health officials in Montana are concerned about a recent increase in the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services says that in 2014, the number of reported gonorrhea cases nearly doubled to more than 400 over the previous year, and the number of chlamydia cases increased to more than 4,100.

Many STDs are easy to cure, but if undiagnosed and untreated, serious complications can occur.  

“I can't emphasize enough that these particular STDs are all preventable,” said Judy Nielsen of the DPHHS STD-HIV Prevention Section in a press release. "In addition, STD screening and early diagnoses are essential in preventing transmission and the long term health consequences of STDs.”

Common complications can include infertility, and conditions such as herpes or gonorrhea can increase a person's chances of getting HIV.

At least half the cases reported in 2014 occurred in people aged 15 to 25. Half of the estimated 20 million STDs that occur in the United States each year are among people under the age of 25. 

There are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. 

For people who are sexually active, DPHHS recommends these steps to lower the risk of getting STD:

Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and does not have STDs.

Limiting the number of people you have sex with if you have more than one partner.

Using latex condoms every time you have sex.

Getting the vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can protect you against diseases (including cancers) caused by the human papillomavirus.

Talk with your health care provider about your sexual history so that he or she can provide you with the appropriate STD testing and prevention guidance. If you're not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider, contact one of the clinics listed at the websites below about confidential and free or low-cost testing.

For more information on STDs, testing, and how to protect yourself, contact your local health department or visit www.dphhs.mt.gov, or getcheckedmt.org.

Previously: Dramatic spike in gonorrhea cases reported in Yellowstone County
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