Sexually Transmitted Infections are a major health issue for people under 25

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SPRINGFIELD - It's not a subject that is offered for discussion around the dinner table or at family gatherings, but Public Health officials in Sangamon County are urging parents and mentors to talk to teens about Sexually Transmitted Infections, or S.T.I.'s. (that's the acronym now given by the Centers For Disease Control for what used to be known as S.T.D.'s, or Sexually Transmitted Disease)

Sangamon County Director of Public Health, Jim Stone, says STI's are becoming a problem among the youth in the county.That's why a program was held Wednesday night at the Sanagamon County Public Health  building in Springfield to discuss ways to combat the rise in reports and how to educate the community.

According to Stone, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the culprits infecting teens the most, especially black youths. He says the numbers are disproportionate between black and whites that are infected.

The Illinois Department of Health statistics from the year 2014 show that of the reported cases of Chlamydia in Sangamon County, 46% were black, 35% were white, 16% unkown and 3% credited to,"Other". 74% of those cases were under the age of 25. The Gonorrhea cases reflected a greater gap in race showing 65% black, 24% white, 7% unkown, 2% Hispanic and 2%,"Other". 64% of these cases were under the age of 25.

The largest age group affected by the S.T.I.'s in Sangamon County is in the age group of fifteen to nineteen. However, according to Jill Stoops, a practitioner nurse at the County Health Clinic, she's been seeing younger teens as young as thirteen and fourteen years old.

Statewide Illinois only has 519 cases of Chlamydia per one hundred thousand compared to Sangamon County with 558 cases per one hundred thousand. There's 125 Cases of Gonorrhea statewide per one hundred thousand cases and 181 per one hundred thousand in Sangamon County. To add insult to injury, the reported cases of Syphilis doubled from 2013 to 2014.

Director Stone said he didn't expect the numbers to drop overnight because of the meeting with concerned citizens and parents, but he hoped that it would start a discussion that would lead to open and honest conversation with teens about S.T.I.'s.

Each year in the United States 20 million will be infected with an S.T.I., half of which will be between the ages of 15 and 24.

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