Sexually transmitted diseases up 19% in Arizona, perhaps because of greater awareness

Eight out of 10 people infected have no symptoms and aren’t aware they have an sexually transmitted disease, according Maricopa County Department of Public Health. (Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Creative Commons)

PHOENIX – Sexually transmitted diseases reported in Arizona from January through April have increased 19 percent over the same period last year, possibly because of increased awareness and improved treatment, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Nicole Capone, spokeswoman for DHS, said 15,710 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported from January through April. And data show a steady increase starting in 2014.

Capone said the rise may be spurred by improvements in screening and reporting, population increases, better access to health care and even technology as people use dating apps.

People can contract STDs without knowing it – eight out of 10 people infected have no symptoms and aren’t aware they have an STD, according to the Maricopa County Department of Health.

“Their symptoms can easily go unnoticed,” Capone said. “Unfortunately, even people who are initially asymptomatic can later develop severe outcomes, such as painful inflammation in the reproductive organs, infertility and complications during pregnancy.”

To prevent contracting an STD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people get regular screenings, abstain from sex, reduce the number of sexual partners they have, practice mutual monogamy, use condoms and get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and HPV.

The CDC also recommends women ages 13 through 26 and men ages 13 through 21 get a catch-up vaccination for human papillomavirus, or HPV.

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