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Chlamydia, Gonorrhea On the Rise in Miss.

By Daniel Cherry | Published 04 Apr 2013 06:20pm | comments
Mississippi has the 2nd highest rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia according to alarming statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, state health officials are keeping a close eye on this disturbing trend. 
 
Health care professionals say the most alarming statistic is, the majority of infections of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in Mississippi are showing up in people younger than 30. 
 
Dr. Paul Byers Deputy State Epidemiologist with the Health Department says,  "We tend to year in and year out have our highest number of cases in those age groups."
 
"If you're abstaining from sex you're not going to get these STDs or in a faithfully monogamous relationship, but certainly we know, condom use, consistent condom use can decrease the risk of these infections", Byers adds.
 
Mississippi's rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea were 2nd highest in the nation in 2011, and even though 2012 rankings aren't yet available, the Department of Health says the number of cases for both diseases increased last year. Dr. Byers says their message is that these diseases are preventable and can carry some long-term effects.
 
"For those young women who have chlymydia especially, there can be some long-term consequences of pelvic inflammatory disease which for some young women can be very serious."
 
There are Health Department locations in nearly every county in the state that offer free testing and information about STDs. But
Rachel Canter, Executive Director of Mississippi First, a group that advocates for greater access to sex education thinks some young people aren't utilizing them.
 
"They might not have access to testing facilities, and if they do, they might be scared to go and they haven't really gotten the information and the education that being tested is very important. Especially because many of these sexually transmitted infections are treatable", says Canter.
 
Mississippi has been worst or nearly the worst in the nation for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis for several years. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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