State records a new high in reported STDs in 2010by Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health reported that the number of sexually transmitted disease cases in Minnesota reached a record level in 2010. Reports of chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea cases numbered more than 17,700 last year; there were more than 15,000 reports of chlamydia alone.
Peter Carr, the manager of the STD and HIV Section of the Health Department, said syphilis cases also rose to a 30-year high of nearly 350 cases.
"And that's driven almost exclusively by increases among gay and bisexual men," Carr said. "The thoughts there is there may be a sense of complacency about HIV and about syphilis as well. Syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics and cured. So it's not maybe as scary a disease as HIV, so there could be some complacency there."
Carr says most STD cases involve patients between the ages of 15 to 24. And, though there are higher rates of chlamydia infection in some communities, it's found everywhere in Minnesota.
"We also know it has a greater impact in communities of color. The rates among African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are all substantially higher than chlamydia rates for white," Carr said.
"As far as geography, chlamydia tends to be fairly evenly distributed around the state. About a third of the cases were in the cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, another third in the suburbs and another third in greater Minnesota, so it's an impact that effects the entire state."
Carr says STD numbers may be rising in part because more people are being tested.
One bit of good news: The number of gonorrhea cases declined 9 percent in 2010 from the year before. But there were still more than 2,100 cases of the disease last year.