State, local officials speak out on STDs

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State and local health officials are calling for greater focus on combating sexually transmitted diseases, amid statistics that show rising rates of some STDs.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that cases of chlamydia and syphilis increased in the state between 2014 and 2015. Similarly, reported rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Macon County have outpaced both the Illinois average and the rate in more populous Cook County.

The state health department recommends people talk with their sexual partners about health, that they undergo testing for STDs and that they seek treatment if they test positive. They also point to abstinence, monogamy, reduced numbers of sexual partners and condom use as ways to prevent or reduce the likelihood of contracting STDs.

The Macon County Health Department also offers clinics to test for STDs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Public relations director Brandi Binkley said the department also works with other groups in the county to reduce STD rates among young people and teenagers, although she also pointed out such efforts could be jeopardized by the lack of a state budget.

“Unfortunately, with what’s going on with our state and the budget right now, some of those services can be negatively impacted in the future,” Binkley said. “We’re already having a bad enough problem, and we’re going to see some serious negative repercussions if we don’t make sure these services are available.”

April is designated “Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month.”

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