ST. PAUL, Minn (KARE 11) The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) annual report on sexually transmitted infections/diseases reveals an uptick in the number of cases among people who use drugs, particularly heroin, prescription opiates and methamphetamine.
Rates of new hepatitis C infections also increased 38 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, and over half of the new cases reported injection drug use.
“This alarming rise in STDs and hepatitis C is of urgent concern,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “MDH and local public health departments, clinicians and our community partners are using every resource we have to maintain the health of Minnesotans and protect them from the health consequences that can be caused by an untreated disease."
Health officials recommend that sexually active people and people who inject drugs get tested at least once each year for STDs, HIV and hepatitis C.
There were 28,631 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in 2016 compared to 25,986 in 2015.
Chlamydia is the No. 1 reported infectious disease in with the majority of cases in teens and young adults ages 15 to 24.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota with 5,104 cases reported in 2016, a 25 percent increase from last year. Nearly 80 percent of cases occurred in the Twin Cities area.
Syphilis cases rose with 852 cases in 2016, a 30 percent increase. New cases were particularly in men who have sex with men.
HIV cases remained relatively stable at 290 cases in 2016 compared to 298 in 2015. Nearly 60 percent of cases were among communities of color. A majority of all cases were in men who have sex with men.
The Community Restoring Urban Youth Sexual Health (CRUSH) coalition will host its third annual STI Testing Day on Tuesday, April 25. A complete list of participating clinic locations providing free testing on April 25 is available here.
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