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The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported that rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have risen in the state, though syphilis rates have remained stable, according to a local news source.
The Great Falls Tribute noted that chlamydia is currently an endemic in Montana, but while gonorrhea is on the rise, it only accounts for some of the newly diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases in the state. Trisha Gardner, a community health education specialist, said that STD outbreaks usually show regional trends. However, she stated that regardless of location, chlamydia is the most commonly seen STD due to how easily it is transmitted.
STD tests show that for every 100,000 Montana residents, 387 have chlamydia, according to the news source. In 2002, there were 271 cases of the disease for every 100,000 persons. Conversely, gonorrhea was at an all-time high in 2006, infecting .02 percent of the population. In 2012, .011 percent of Montana residents were diagnosed with gonorrhea.
Gardner noted that there are income-based disparities in the rate at which citizens are diagnosed with STDs. Though the source noted that the differences weren't based in sexual activity, but rather were the result of limited access to healthcare services for those of lower socioeconomic status.
STD testing and treatment
Many people avoid seeking STD tests for fear of seeing an acquaintance at the doctor's office, but anonymous STD testing is available for discrete tests and results. Gardner also noted that misperceptions regarding the invasiveness of the tests discourages people from receiving them, but she assured the news source that many of the less comfortable tests have been retired.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that chlamydia and gonorrhea infections often go unnoticed in women because the symptoms rarely become apparent. However, untreated infections can sometimes lead to tubal infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain as the result of pelvic inflammatory disease.
The CDC recommended that anyone who is sexually active seek an STD test or screening. If caught in their early stages, chlamydia and gonorrhea infections can be cured with minimal health-related issues. In order to catch the infectious diseases before they incur medical complications, sexually active individuals should get regular testing, and ask that their sexual partners do the same.
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