News

STDs hit younger group most in York and beyond

Written by Angie Mason/York Daily Record | Feb 15, 2016 12:23 PM
hospital-hallway-generic-600x340.jpg

 

 

Cases of sexually transmitted diseases rose nationwide in 2014.

(York) -- Cases of sexually transmitted diseases rose nationwide in 2014 as well as in York County, and young people, both here and nationally, continue to be the most affected.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that nationwide, reported cases of three sexually transmitted diseases -- chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis -- rose between 2013 and 2014. Chlamydia, the most prevalent of the three, increased 2.8 percent to about 1.4 million cases.

In Pennsylvania, reported cases of chlamydia dropped slightly in that time, while York County saw an increase of about 4 percent, according to data available on the state health department's website. York County's rate of the disease is lower than Pennsylvania's, but higher than some neighboring counties like Lancaster and Cumberland.

Sexually transmitted diseases tend to affect the younger population most. Nationwide, 15- to 24-year-olds made up about about two thirds of reported cases of chlamydia and more than half of gonorrhea cases, according to the CDC. In Pennsylvania and York County, about 70 percent of chlamydia cases reported occurred in that age group in 2014.

Dr. Matt Howie, medical director at the York City Bureau of Health, said that reported cases of chlamydia peak between the ages of 20 and 24 in the county. The next-highest age group is 15 to 19.

Because sexually transmitted diseases tend to affect the younger population more, working with school districts makes sense in order to target the larger population, he said.

It's an area the health bureau is paying attention to, Howie said, and doing some internal work to assess gaps and needs, in preparation for perhaps working with the York City School District at some point. Trends seen at the county level are typically magnified in the city, he said, something true in most areas.

Teens provide an area "of ripe opportunity for us to intervene," he said. Those in public health talk about "going upstream," meaning they work on dealing with the present issues but also look to see what led to them.

There's a need for "the whole spectrum," programs and education, prevention work, and treatment, Howie said.

Rachel Levine, the state's physician general, said that chlamydia rates are too high, both in general and in the younger population. In 2015, she said, about 67 percent of the cases of chlamydia were in the 15-to-24 age group in Pennsylvania.

"Chlamydia can potentially be a very serious condition," she said, adding that if left untreated, about 10 percent to 15 percent of women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause other problems. "This is not a benign condition."

It often doesn't have symptoms, she said. It's recommended that sexually active women be screened yearly, and those screenings are far less invasive than in the past and can usually be done with a urine sample.

The best way for young people to protect themselves is abstinence, Levine said, but they don't always listen, so it's important for them to have information about safe sex guidelines, too.

The department provides educational materials online, and works with community partners as well as school districts to help them figure out what's appropriate in their districts.

Resources

The York City Health Bureau runs the Expedited Partner Treatment program, which provides treatment to partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or both. The program is open to city or county residents. For more information, visit www.yorkcity.org/health and click on "sexually transmitted diseases" or contact the bureau at 849-2299.

Family First Health, at 116 S. George St., York, offers walk-in HIV screening Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Safe Teens: www.safeteens.org

At a glance

Reported cases of chlamydia in 2014

Nationwide: 1.4 million cases or 456.1 cases per 100,000 population

Pennsylvania: 50,534 cases or 395.2 cases per 100,000 population

York County: 1,480 cases or 335.8 cases per 100,000 population

Reported cases of chlamydia, ages 15 to 24

Pennsylvania: 35,096 or 2,059 per 100,000 population

York County: 1,038 or 1,908 cases per 100,000 population

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health website

 

*This article is part of a content-sharing agreement between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News

Tagged under , , , , , , , , , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »