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Syphilis rates skyrocket in Iowa

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted disease rates are on the rise in many parts of the U.S., which is why it's important for all sexually active Americans to regularly use STD testing services. In some U.S. states STD numbers have only risen slightly, but in others the increase is very dramatic. For example, according to a recent article published by KCCI 8 News, an Iowa news source, the Polk County Health Department has announced that syphilis rates are up 420 percent in the area.

Health experts stated that in 2012, there were 112 cases of syphilis in the county, compared to 27 in 2011.

Concerning numbers
According to the Polk County Health Department, the increase was seen mostly in men between the ages of 20 and 55 who reported having sex with other men. This is not surprising, considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of men who have sex with men who have syphilis. This population should be concerned about this rise in syphilis rates, since having this STD can increase the risk of developing HIV.

"Large increases in STDs is alarming. There is a number of sexually transmitted diseases that can't be treated. There are a number of STDs that don't have symptoms," Sarah Boese of the Polk County Health Department told KCCI. "Syphilis is known as the great imitator because a lot of people think they have the flu or bronchitis."

She added that this is one of the many reasons why STD testing is so important. Even if a person feels completely fine, he or she could still have syphilis and not even know it, especiallyy because the symptoms can be elusive. However, if left to progress, syphilis can eventually attack the brain and cause serious health problems, including death.

Of course, Iowa isn't the only part of the country where syphilis rates are on the rise. According to a recent article in NewsDay, there were 903 new cases of syphilis in New York City in 2012, compared to 456 in 2003.

The bottom line is that no matter where people live in the U.S., they need to utilize STD testing services at least once a year or more depending on how many sexual partners they have. Without the use of lab tests, it can be very difficult to know if a person has an STD or not.

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