The Grapevine

Chlamydia Cases In Utah On The Rise

Utah has been recording a growing number of residents contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Public health officials said it is the fifth year that such diseases continued to rise despite efforts to address the issue. 

The Utah County Health Department recently issued a report on the latest rates of STDs across the state. It highlighted the significant increase in cases of chlamydia in 2018, which reached 1,257 patients. 

Chlamydia has been increasing since 2011 with an average of 999 cases each year, according to the report. Utah health officials said more women were diagnosed with the disease in the past year compared to men, Daily Herald reported, Sunday

However, both men and women are at risk of chlamydia. People can get the disease through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

If left untreated, this type of STD could cause serious health problems. Women might lose their ability to get pregnant because of permanent damage to their reproductive system. 

The symptoms of chlamydia include abnormal discharge from the vaginer or penis, a burning sensation when urinating and rectal pain and bleeding. Some men may also feel pain and swelling in one or both testicles. 

Aside from chlamydia, Utah also saw a continued increase in gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis in 2018. The increase in STDs potentially occured due to lack of education and health awareness among residents, according to Kristine Black, a registered nurse in epidemiology at the Utah County Health Department.

She also cited the growing access to the internet contributes to the issue. Some people admitted to using websites or apps to find sexual partners.

“Our thought is that increased accessibility to an anonymous sexual partner could easily be a factor increasing the rates,” Black said. “There is some deficit in their health awareness. If they are going to participate in these behaviors, then they need to be responsible for their health, as well as the health of the partners.”

The local health department has called on residents to consider getting tested for STDs to prevent infections. 

Couple Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease that if left untreated can damage women's reproductive system. Pixabay