Rise in STDs locally and nationally sparking major concern

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:27 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise both in the metro and across the country, and it’s sparking major concern with healthcare officials calling on more screenings and better communication on safe sex among partners and families.

The CDC says 2.5 million STI cases were reported nationwide last year with no signs of slowing down.

“We’ve been breaking records in a bad way, but more so in the last couple years. Not to blame everything on COVID, but this is something COVID did not help with,” Dr. Sammantha Kouba, and infectious disease expert at Sanford Health said. “It just effected people’s ability to go in and get tested. Some people were just putting off getting tested especially if they weren’t having any symptoms.”

Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the main three health experts say they’re concerned about the most.

“Regardless of your age, regardless of whether or not you think this is something that can happen to you, make sure you’re getting tested on a regular basis and having an open conversation with partners,” she said.

Kouba says while only 50 percent of young adults are likely to use protection, they’re not solely to blame for the concerning spike in infections in the metro.

“We are seeing increased rates in 50 and above. That age group unfortunately is that much more less likely to have safe sex,” Kouba said.

And she adds because most STD cases are asymptomatic, it’s the leading cause of infectious infertility in women.

“In the Fargo-Moorhead area, I’ll hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh, but we don’t have that here.’ Oh no! We have it here!” she said. Kouba went on to de-bunk the well-known myth birth control protects from STIs, but Kouba assures that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Kouba suggests getting tested every time you have unprotected sex, and adds it’s time for people to get back to routine check-ups and taking preventative measures like using a condom.

Experts say many STDs are treatable or curable with medication but if the spread continues there could be roadblocks as research has found treatment-resistant strains.