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Young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 consistently have the highest rates of STDs among any demographic in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In order to battle this epidemic, many health officials are reaching out to this group to encourage them to seek STD testing.
In response to these rising rates in Philadelphia, the group Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Program (YOCAP) recently began going into high-risk neighborhoods where rates of infection are particularly high and offering free STD testing to anyone who wants it.
"[With] most of the younger folks, we've built up a rapport in the neighborhoods. They know us," said Tony Lloyd, a YOACAP counselors and the phlebotomist who conducts STD testing. "People used to get leery. Now they know us and they'll come up and ask for condoms or tests without engagement from us."
He added that these improvements in the perception could help the group make strides against the rates of infection, but that individuals should still get tested at least once each year.
There were more than 1 million people in the U.S. living with Chlamydia in 2008, according to the CDC.
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