STD rates up nationally, locally

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DECATUR- Rates of sexually transmitted have increased nationally, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its 2014 STD Surveillance Report, the CDC found that cases of chlamydia rose by 2.8 percent over the year before, that cases of primary and secondary syphilis rose by 15.1 percent over the year before and that cases of gonorrhea rose by 5.1 percent.

The Macon County Health Department reports seeing an increase in cases of gonorrhea during the same period. While they have made progress in reducing teen pregnancy, STD rates in Macon County still remain higher than the Illinois state average, said Brandi Binkley, Director of Health Promotion and Public Relations.

Reducing those STD rates will take community effort, Binkley said.

“If you’re a business, you have to think about the fact that health impacts the economy and is going to impact your business,” Binkley said. “So what can you do? Can you put out information about the Teen Health Coalition and find a way that you as a business serving Macon County can help affect those numbers?”

Binkley said the health department is working with other agencies to educate young people, who the CDC reports are at most risk for STDs. Among those local efforts are empowerment programs for girls and new sex education classes being offered at some schools.

“There is an evidence-based curriculum that we started implementing through Webster-Cantrell Hall a couple years ago in some of the middle schools and high schools in Decatur Public Schools,” Binkley said. “We feel that’s been very effective.”

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