April 2, 2012
Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is partnering with several colleges and universities in the State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to try to raise awareness about sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevalence this month especially among young people. According to the CDC, as many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by the age of 25 and most of them won’t know it.
The GYT campaign encourages Americans, especially those under 25, to speak with their healthcare provider and partners about getting tested. The CDC states that this age group represents half of the estimated 19 million STDs occurring in the U.S. each year. When left untreated, STDs can lead to an increased risk of HIV infection, infertility, and cancer. In New Hampshire, there were 3,022 reported cases of Chlamydia in 2011 compared with 2,484 in 2010, 136 reported cases of Gonorrhea in 2011 compared with 146 in 2010, and 25 reported cases of Syphilis in 2011 compared with 26 in 2010. Consistent with national data, there has been a steady increase in Chlamydia cases in the past five years.
“STDs are a huge concern and we have seen the numbers rising in New Hampshire lately,” said Dr. José Montero. “There is a stigma attached to this health topic as well as lack of information and misinformation. This leads to people not being tested or knowing the risks. Since many STDs have no symptoms, most of those who are infected don’t know it. The only way to know for sure is to be tested.”
Because of the increase in cases, DHHS has been collaborating with colleges and universities throughout New Hampshire to help them get information to young people. The DHHS Division of Public Health Services’ Deputy State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom is giving a webinar on this issue entitled “STD Update 2012,” for college and university health centers and community health providers in April.
For more information about STDs, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov, or call the DHHS STD Program at 271-4502. For more information about the Get Yourself Tested campaign, go to www.cdcnpin.org/stdawareness/GYT.aspx.
This campaign is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to www.nphw.org.