Amy Jacobson, Fargo, letter: Help stem rise in STDs in N.D.Women, men and teens need to know how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections. They need medically accurate and age-appropriate information and access to preventive health care to build healthier, brighter futures
By: Amy Jacobson,
FARGO — According to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest report, U.S. rates of chlamydia and syphilis continue to rise, with an increase in chlamydia of 2.8 percent over the past year. Young women are most adversely affected, as women are nearly three times as likely as men to be diagnosed with chlamydia.
Unfortunately, some of the trends evidenced in the report are being seen here in North Dakota. According to the North Dakota Department of Health, chlamydia has increased 81.5 percent in the past nine years.
This is an unconscionable public health failure. It’s time for solutions.
More than 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s 64,000 patients in this region are women, the majority of whom are young adults. This population — female patients aged 26 and younger — are at the greatest risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.
In fact, the North Dakota Department of Health just released the 2009 STD Surveillance Update in which it reports that nearly 50 percent of chlamydia cases occurred in women ages 20-24.
Many STIs can cause permanent damage if not treated early. For example, women infected with chlamydia are at risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease. Long-term complications may include infertility, chronic pain and ectopic pregnancy and a significantly increased risk of acquiring HIV.
Planned Parenthood is committed to improving the health of all North Dakotans. We call on leaders in communities across the state to join us in addressing this public health and education imperative.
Women, men and teens need to know how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections. They need medically accurate and age-appropriate information and access to preventive health care to build healthier, brighter futures.
Jacobson is North Dakota public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.