WDAZ8 Television (Grand Forks, N.D.) (02.24.2014)
Aids Weekly Plus
WDAZ8 Television reported that STDs are on the rise in North Dakota. According to the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH), cases of gonorrhea and syphilis have soared since 2012. Syphilis saw a 60-percent increase, from 15 to 24 cases since 2012; gonorrhea cases increased approximately 40 percent, from 340 to 471 cases since 2012.
Antibiotics can treat STDs effectively. If left untreated, STDs may cause serious health complications, including infertility. Those who suspect they have an STD or are at risk for an STD should seek medical attention. Free or low-cost testing and treatment clinics and health facilities are located throughout the state, according to Lindsey VanderBusch of NDDoH’s Division of Disease Control.
Confidential testing and treatment programs also are available for sexual partners of persons diagnosed with an STD. VanderBusch stresses that the state’s STD programs are strictly confidential and those seeking treatment should be confident the program will not violate their privacy.
The health department is reaching out to state physicians, who might not see STDs on a regular basis, to be more vigilant in recognizing those at risk and testing appropriately. “Some physicians do not see many instances of certain [STDs] and may not recognize some of the symptoms they see as being caused by an STD. We wanted to raise the issue with providers to make sure members of the public are getting diagnosed and treated appropriately,” said VanderBusch.
NDDoH classifies those at risk as: “young people ages 15 to 24 who are sexually active; people with multiple sexual partners; people who use condoms inconsistently; people who have anonymous sexual partners; and people who are sexually active and infected with HIV.” For further information, contact Lindsey VanderBusch at (701) 328–4555.