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Category: Infectious Diseases
Androscoggin County, Maine, had nearly half of the state's 456 reported cases of gonorrhea in 2012. Though there has been a sharp decline in cases this year likely due in part to efforts from the state's health department, the county still has a much higher number of cases than most others.
By July 2012, the county had more than 100 reported episodes of the sexually transmitted disease, according to lab tests. This year, the number has fallen to 51. The state government started an education campaign to encourage young people and others to get tested for the STD before having sexual contact. In order to spread the message, posters encouraging youths to get tested have been hung in salons, colleges and nightclubs, according to Bangor Daily News.
State epidemiologist Stephen Sears, Ph.D., commented on the fact that it could be particularly difficult to track the spread of the disease as it was often asymptomatic in women. Though he was optimistic about the progress of Androscoggin County and the state's total progress, he still saw the higher rates as a problem.
Sears also commented that many of the areas, including the counties of Androscoggin as well as Cumberland and York, that had higher rates of gonorrhea were often located closer to states like Massachusetts, where more people are diagnosed with gonorrhea and other STDs each year.
Often not showing symptoms in women, this STD can be very difficult to track. It can cause certain symptoms like painful urination and abnormal discharge. However, it can also lead to more serious complications like infertility or infections that can spread throughout the body. It can also make the infected more susceptible to HIV as well, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Gonorrhea is spread through unprotected sex, so it is very important for those who are sexually active to have STD tests regularly. For those seeking anonymous STD testing, there are discreet options for secure lab tests. Wide panel tests offer diagnoseses for gonorrhea as well as many other STDs, such as HIV, herpes or other serious diseases that can cause potentially harmful complications if left untreated and are highly contagious.
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