Rising STD Rate in Northwest Ohio: A WTOL 11 Special ReportPosted: Updated:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported sexually transmitted diseases are now "an ongoing, severe, epidemic" across the country.
WTOL 11 News found out northwest Ohio is no exception.
"This is the second or third time I've been in a situation like this," said a man who did not want us to reveal his name. He was back at the STD Clinic answering questions from medical staff at the Lucas County Health Department.
He was there after a sexual encounter with a woman about a week prior.
"My recommendation is for everyone is to check behind their partner even though their partner is not saying anything or acting in any way...just to be on the safe side," he told us as he waited in the exam room
It was not bad advice considering some STD infections are way up locally. In Lucas County, Chlamydia cases went from nearly 2,700 in 2008 to close to 3,000 last year. Gonorrhea cases jumped from around 900 to 1,400.
In Wood County, we found the same kind of story. In 2008, Chlamydia cases numbered 304 but in 2012 there were 472. Gonorrhea cases went from 50 to 79.
Health leaders told us people need to wake up.
- Click to read more about the most common STDs
- Read about how to protect yourself
- Long term effects of STDs
- How other STDs make you more susceptible to HIV
"Very often the case of one can be multiplied by two or three at a time and that's the major concern," said Dr. David Grossman. He is the Lucas County Health Department Commissioner. He also told us STDs not only cost you time and money for treatments, but in numerous health problems. One is especially worrisome.
"There is a concern of Gonorrhea becoming more resistant to some of our standard treatments and when that happens not only are you talking about more costs but really difficult issues," said Dr. Grossman.
We went searching for additional information at Planned Parenthood in Toledo.
"Female condoms. I have a lot of those. Those are hard to find in the pharmacy," said Deborah Covault from Planned Parenthood as she showed us a table full of contraceptives.
She told us aside from abstinence, your best defense is protection and consistent education for young and old - whoever's making the choice to be sexually active.
"I think it's just making sure we're always talking about (sexual protection)," said Covault. "It's not a one-time deal and we're done and we don't have to talk about condoms again until you're older. It's something you want to talk about all the time," she added.
It's extra important right now because numerous reports on sexual health websites (including Sexualhealth.com, Onlinedatingmagazine.com, MyNorthwest.com, and Nationalpost.com) point to the popularity of on-line dating websites as a possible factor in the STD rate increase.
The reports show the Internet is bringing more people together and with more dating opportunities come additional chances of people not being as smart as they should be on dates.
Local experts agreed.
"With dating sites and people able to meet more people, whatever the mechanism," said Dr. Grossman. "Remember the personal items in the paper and all that? They were always there. The web, obviously, expanded that," he told us.
WTOL 11 News contacted the top ten most searched dating websites on Google in 2012.
Not one has gotten back to us including Adultfriendfinder.com with the motto "Real People, Real Sex."
"HIV is still very much the biggest concern (when it comes to STDs)," said HIV Prevention Coordinator Jerry Kerr at the Lucas County Health Department.
He said the real challenge now is getting through to people.
"Perhaps the best thing we can do for the HIV rate is to let folks know we don't care about your sexuality. Come get tested and be careful," he advised.
And being careful is what John Doe was realizing the importance of...again.
"Always make sexual decisions on a sober mind and after a lot of thought," he told us.
The Lucas County Health Department and Planned Parenthood offer free condoms and educational information on sexual health.
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