Minnesota STD cases hit record high number

Published 7:57 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By Mark Zdechlik

MPR News/90.1 FM

Minnesota health officials say sexually transmitted disease cases in the state rose to a record level in 2017. Overall the number of cases in Minnesota jumped 8 percent last year.

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“There were an all-time high of almost 31,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in 2017,” said Krissie Guerard, who oversees the Minnesota Department of Health’s STD prevention efforts.

Gonorrhea transmissions rose 28 percent; chlamydia infections 4 percent.

Guerard said in many cases STDs have no symptoms, underscoring the need for annual testing.

She said many health insurance plans pay for the testing. It’s also available at low cost from numerous community-based clinics around the state. Health officials said people of color, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs have higher rates of STDs, HIV and Hepatitis C than the broader population.

“If you are at high risk for HIV, STDs or Hepatitis C, we do recommend that you get tested at least annually. If you’re at higher risk it should probably be done more frequently, and that would be something that you can talk with either your physician or one of our community agencies that do the testing on-site,” Guerard said.