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PA Department of Health Urges Regular Screening for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Date:1/14/2009

STD Rates Rise Nationally; Many People May Not Realize They're Infected

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania saw an increase in the number of reported cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia in 2007, highlighting the need for more regular testing by men and women, according to the Department of Health.

While Pennsylvania's rate for the two most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases is below the national average, the number of new cases rose in 2007: gonorrhea increased 10 percent to 12,706 cases; while chlamydia increased by 7 percent to 42,469 cases.

On Jan. 13, the federal Centers for Disease Control said that reported chlamydia cases nationwide set a new record of 1.1 million cases in 2007. Millions of Americans may carry the infection and not know it.

The national increase underscores the importance of additional screening and prevention efforts because men and women infected with chlamydia, for example, may not show symptoms. Therefore, it can be spread easily to sexual partners through unprotected sex. If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems including infertility in women.

Symptoms of gonorrhea can include a yellow discharge from the genitals and lymph node swelling in the groin area. Chlamydia can cause discharge as well and can lead to scarring of the female reproductive tract organs if untreated.

The Department of Health encourages men and women to talk with their healthcare provider about testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and other STDs.

For information about where to get STD testing, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

    CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman
             (717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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