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Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
According to a West Virginia local news source, prostitution is contributing to a statistically significant rise in sexually transmitted diseases in Mercer County. Health officials noted that STDs spread by prostitutes were becoming a particularly difficult problem to tackle in the area.
The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported that, through STD testing, the health department diagnosed 27 new cases of STDs in June alone. In a regular month, the department usually only sees about 15 patients with STDs.
"It's been especially worse since January this year," Judy Bolton, public health nurse, told the news source. "We are having a huge number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, which are sexually transmitted diseases. And there is treatment for those people who come in and get treatment - if they don't, they can get complications."
The local news source noted that STDs spread by sex workers are a particularly tricky situation, since it is rare that customers know their real names. Bolton said that the department's goal is to bring in the STD carriers and get them treated, but that there are many obstacles in tracking them down. The rate of STDs per citizen in Mercer County is the highest in the U.S. for hepatitis B.
Regular STD tests necessary for sexual health
Having sex with a prostitute is a high risk factor for STDs, in addition to drug use. Bolton noted that it only takes a small amount of exchanged blood to spread hepatitis, regardless of whether it is dry. She also expressed that, generally, people believe that injecting needles is the only way to transmit disease through drug use, but in some instances it can be spread through snorting.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources stated that not having sex is the best way to avoid becoming infected with an STD. Correct condom use can also reduce the risk of infection, and the department recommended using a foam, cream or jelly designed to kill STDs before they are transmitted. Sexually active people should get an STD test annually, and those who are more likely to contract a disease should seek testing more frequently.
For anyone who engages in or has engaged in risky sexual behavior, anonymous STD tests are available to determine the state of sexual health and enable patients to get proper treatment.
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