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Chlamydia cases on the rise in three Utah counties

Chlamydia cases on the rise in three Utah counties

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Health officials in three Utah counties are concerned about a significant rise in chlamydia cases during the first half of the year.

What is... chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the U.S. It is caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur "silently" before a woman ever recognizes a problem. -Centers for Disease Control

The TriCounty Health Department, which includes Uintah, Duchesne and Daggett counties, saw a 25-percent increase in cases of the sexually transmitted disease reported between January and July of this year. Thirty-eight cases were reported during that time, compared to just 28 cases reported during the same period in 2009.

Health officials are urging residents to get tested.

"Most of the time, people who have chlamydia won't be aware of the problem," says Joseph Shaffer, director of health with the TriCounty Health Department. "Testing is easy, painless and completely confidential."

The Utah Department of Health and the TriCounty Health Department will offer free, confidential testing for Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. Residents can make appointments or just walk in.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are cured with a one-time dose of antibiotics, which will be given to patients and their partners at no charge at the time of diagnosis.

Roosevelt Clinic:

  • Aug. 20: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 281 E. 200 North, Roosevelt

Vernal Clinic:

  • Aug. 21: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 133 S. 500 East, Vernal

The two agencies are teaming up to launch an ad campaign called "Catch the Answers," which will be running on billboards and radio stations. The goal is to raise awareness about the growing STD problem in the tightly-knit communities.

In Utah, during 2009, 66 percent of chlamydia cases were diagnosed in 15 to 24 year olds, however anyone who is sexually active is at risk.

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