SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – STDs are increasing in Salt Lake County and around the country. The question is, why?
“We’re concerned about sexually transmitted diseases across all age groups,” said Gary Edwards, executive director with Salt Lake County Health Dept.
In recent numbers released by the county, chlamydia topped the most diagnosed list. Gonorrhea is an STD that has risen nearly 300 percent in diagnoses since 2013. Utah state numbers also show a 735 percent increase during a similar time period in gonorrhea cases.
“It’s the one that has had the greatest increase over the past 5 to 6 years. Chlamydia continues to increase. Gonorrhea has had a larger spike,” said Edwards.
Why are cases of gonorrhea and STDs growing in Utah at such a rapid rate? Edwards says the education approach toward teens, who have shown particularly high numbers of STDs in recent years, isn’t working.
He says approaches need to focus on teens who are sexually active, while also communicating effectively with those who are not. Just promoting abstinence, he says, won’t work.
“In reality, that’s not going to be a possible solution for every individual and so the second best is safe sex practices, mutually monogamous relationships so that sexually transmitted infections are not broadly spread,” said Edwards.