By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Montana state health officials report the upward trend over the past several years of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Montana are now reaching record highs. Gonorrhea, as one example, has been increasing over the past seven years, and are now projected to reach nearly 1,500 cases in 2019.
In fact, Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) STD/ HIV program manager Dana Fejes said the gonorrhea numbers haven’t been this high in 40 years.
In addition to gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis cases have also been rising. Cascade and Yellowstone County have been impacted the most by gonorrhea and syphilis in 2019.
“This is very concerning,” Fejes said. “And the reason we’re concerned is because of the serious health consequences that can occur to an individual with an STD if left untreated. Some people are at greater risks for complications, such as those who have a suppressed immune system and pregnant women. Sometimes, there are no symptoms and the infection is spread to others unknowingly.”
Health officials say unprotected sex, with multiple or anonymous partners, increases the likelihood that someone might get infected. Public health officials said social media is also playing a role. Social media platforms and anonymous sex have further complicated the ability to reach partners to get them tested and treated. This is a necessary step to stop further infections. To keep up with the increase of online dating, local and state partners are reaching out on social media to urge sexually active persons to get tested for STDs and stay safe.
Montana is not alone or unique–the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says syphilis and gonorrhea reports are the highest nationwide since 1991.