Wyoming saw higher rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and other sexual transmitted diseases in 2015 compared to reports from the previous year, according to recent data released by the Department of Health.
The report shows a 3 percent increase in chlamydia cases and a 150 percent rise in gonorrhea. Young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for a majority of these infections, which health officials say can have lasting health impacts.
Communicable Disease Surveillance Program Manager Courtney Smith says that Wyoming is in step with nationwide trends, but it is still a concern.
“An increase in STDs could potentially mean an increase in other infections, such as HIV,” Smith said. “When people have an STD infection and don't get treated, then they are more likely to acquire HIV if they're exposed to it.”
Smith recommends that people use condoms consistently, and that sexually active people get tested for infections.
“If you are at risk for an STD but don't have symptoms, it doesn't mean that you don't have one,” Smith said. “About 75 percent of people who are infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea will never show symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested.”
Smith adds that the state’s KnoWyo program offers free or low cost STD screenings, as well as condom distribution services that make protection available to people throughout the state.