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Lab tests revealed that rates of the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia and gonorrhea have risen in Montana. Syphilis has remained at its current rate. Low-income youth are the most vulnerable to infections from these diseases, according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
STDs and income
While rates of gonorrhea have risen in Montana, the disease is still not nearly as common as chlamydia. Likewise, syphilis is not extremely common in the state. However, chlamydia, the most commonly reported STD in America, has seen rising rates among the state's youths in the past decade. In 2012, the rate of the disease was 387 per 100,000 people, while it was just 271 per 100,000 people in 2002, according to The Great Falls Tribune.
According to experts like Laurie Kops, supervisor of the HIV, STD and hepatitis program at Montana DPHHS, poor health care is to blame for the fact that income disparity has so much to do with the likelihood of STD infection. Throughout the state and across the country, minorities and lower-income people are far more likely to be infected by STDs.
"With poverty-stricken areas, it's not so much that their sexual activity would be different from anybody else, it's more access to health care," Kops told the news source.
A lack of STD tests and lab tests account for much of the issues with the prevalence of diseases like chlamydia. The fact that many young people in the areas do not have access to proper sexual education as well as have multiple partners creates a much higher risk.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia often does not present any symptoms. However, even if it is asymptomatic, the disease can cause serious complications to women's reproductive organs, such as the cervix, the uterus and fallopian tubes, which carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. If an infection goes untreated for long enough, it can even result in infertility as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease. In men, it can sometimes cause pain, though it often has no symptoms.
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