Chlamydia on the Rise in Marion CountyThe Marion County Health Department is reporting a 27-percent rise in the sexually transmitted disease 'Chlamydia' in 2013. Director of Nursing Shelly Yoder says the increase began four years ago and in that time the number of yearly cases has jumped from 118 to 191 this past year. She reports Chlamydia is an infection caused by a bacterium that is spread by having sex with an infected partner.
"I think that with the younger population there is a lot of risky sexual behavior. The number one thing I'm seeing is that the kids have multiple sex partners and having unprotected sex. They're meeting a lot of partners on the internet. And a lot of time we're seeing drug and alcohol use in addition to the sexual activity" Yoder explained.
Chlamydia is known as a 'silent' infection because infected people may not have any signs or symptoms of the infection and they may not know they are infected.
Even if a person doesn't have symptoms the bacteria can still cause damage. If symptoms occur, they may not appear until several weeks later. They may include an abnormal discharge or a burning sensation when peeing. Pain and swelling in one or both testicles may also occur in men.
Chlamydia can damage a woman's reproductive organs and can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. In pregnant women, untreated Chlamydia can cause pre-term delivery and spread to the newborn, causing an eye infection or pneumonia. Chlamydia infections in men can sometimes spread to the tube that carries sperm, causing pain, fever and in rare circumstances infertility.
Meanwhile, Yoder says the number of the two other most common STD's dropped last year. The number of gonorrhea cases decreased from 35 to 20 and syphilis cases went from three to zero last year.
The Marion County Health Department offers low cost testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. The STD testing services are confidential and are scheduled by appointment at both the Centralia and Salem offices. To schedule an appointment you can call the Salem office at 548-38-78 or the Centralia office at 532-65-18.
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