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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2011

CONTACT
Leah Bucco-White, Communication and Legislative Services, DHHS (402) 471-9356, Leah.Bucco-White@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Highlights Health Impact of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Lincoln – Approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States – and almost half of these are among young people age 15 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Nebraska about 2 out of 100 people (8,396 cases) age 20-24 had an STD and about 1 out of 100 people (3,869 cases) age 25-29 had an STD in 2008-2010. Of great concern is the age group 15-19, where 1.7% (6,728 cases) had an STD in 2008-2010.

“The goal of Nebraska's Sexually Transmitted Disease Program is to control and prevent the spread of STDs by providing Nebraskans with education regarding their personal health and by maintaining state-wide resources,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer and the Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “There are many effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. STD screening and early diagnoses are vital to prevent serious health consequences and increased transmission.”

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) pose a serious public health threat to Americans – particularly young women, African Americans, men who have sex with men (MSM), and individuals living in poverty or who have limited access to healthcare. STDs cost the United States’ health care system as much as $17 billion annually.

STDs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women. These and other common STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission for both women and men.

Screening is particularly important since many STDs often have no signs or symptoms. CDC recommends annual Chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 26. CDC also recommends that girls and women between the ages of 11 and 26 who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots, be fully vaccinated against HPV. For sexually active MSM, CDC recommends annual HIV and syphilis blood testing, annual Chlamydia testing, as well as annual gonorrhea testing, with more frequent testing for MSM who engage in high-risk behavior.

More information about STDs is available at http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/dpc_hiv.aspx or www.cdc.gov/std. Local event information can be found at www.stopAIDSnebraska.info or http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/dpc_hiv.aspx 

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