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SALT LAKE CITY — Sexually transmitted diseases continue to be the most common infectious diseases reported in Salt Lake County, health officials say, and are prevalent among teens.
According to 2018’s statistics released by the Salt Lake County Health Department Tuesday, chlamydia was the most common infectious disease, followed by gonorrhea. Hepatitis C came in third, followed by hospitalized cases of influenza and latent tuberculosis infections.
The county saw more than 5,000 cases of chlamydia last year, numbers that were fairly consistent with the previous three years. Just under 2,000 people had gonorrhea, numbers that have grown steadily since 2013, when there were 672 cases, according to the statistics.
The annual report broke down the illnesses by age group for the first time, officials said, and findings among teenagers were “especially concerning.”
“As with adults, sexually transmitted diseases are among the most prevalent infections in our youth 15–17 years old,” Gary Edwards, the health department’s executive director, said in a statement.
“This is alarming and an indicator that our current approach to sexually transmitted disease education is not working,” he said. “Teens need accurate, realistic and comprehensive STD education — whether that’s at home, at school, at church or in another venue appropriate for the discussion.”
Sexually active youth need regular STD testing, he said, as many who have infections don’t show symptoms. Untreated STDs can cause infertility, cervical cancer and other serious health issues.
The county health department offers STD testing to anyone 14 and older with or without parent permission, officials said.
The clinic at 610 S. 200 East is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and accepts walk-in patients. Appointments can also be made at 385-468-4242.