2012 was a banner year for chlamydia in Minnesota; STDs increased overall

More Minnesotans were diagnosed with STDs last year than live in Hibbing.
More Minnesotans were diagnosed with STDs last year than live in Hibbing.
Image by Tatiana Craine

According to the latest data from the Minnesota Department of Health, last year set a record for the number of reported chlamydia cases in Minnesota. In 2012, there were 18,048 cases, a 7 percent increase over the 16,898 reported the year prior.

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Overall, STDs in the state rose by 10 percent last year compared to the previous year, and there was a similar increase from 2010 to 2011.

The second most-reported STD, gonorrhea, was also really hot last year, apparently. In 2012, 3,082 cases were reported, a whopping 35 percent increase from 2011's 2,283 cases. As the MDH's report notes, "Nearly two-thirds of all gonorrhea cases occurred among the 15- to 24-year-old age group and more than 80 percent of the cases occurred in the Twin Cities metropolitan area."

The new isn't all bad. There were 335 reported cases of syphilis last year, an 8 percent drop from the 366 reported the year prior.

As far as demographics go, the MDH report indicates that infection rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea are higher among communities of color and American Indians than among whites. 

"These disparities exist among populations that have the fewest opportunities to access STD prevention programs and regular testing," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the Minnesota Commissioner of Health. "Untreated STDs can have serious health consequences and we need to increase our efforts in partnership with our most impacted communities and ensure that these services are available and being used."

Syphilis, meanwhile, remains particularly problematic for gay men.

The MDH report also provides a succinct breakdown of the possible consequences of each of the STDs discussed.

"Health officials noted that untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women and men and can be passed from an infected woman to her newborn children, causing premature delivery, infant pneumonia, and blindness," the report says. "Untreated syphilis can cause blindness, mental illness, dementia, and death. Untreated gonorrhea can spread to organs and joints leading to life-threatening conditions."

However pleasurable unprotected sex is, it isn't worth any of that, so get back in the habit of using protection, Minnesota.

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