STD rates rising in Missouri, Cole County to hold presentation

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY – The rate of sexually transmitted diseases continues to increase annually throughout Missouri.


The Cole County Public Health department is holding its first STD prevention presentation tonight from 6 – 7 p.m. at Hawthorn Bank community room, 3600 Amazonas Dr., in Jefferson City.


The presentation will inform parents, guardians, teachers and students on the risks of STD’s, healthy relationships, and how to hold an effective conversation about STDs. Dr. Crystal Sullivan and three Cole County Health Department nurses will be on-hand to answer questions.


The Public Health educator for Cole County, Ashley Rackers said that because of the increased rate of STD’s, it’s important to hold this presentation.


“We see the rates going up annually. This year, we’re at an 18 percent increase in syphilis and a 17 percent increase in gonorrhea,” Rackers said.


“Missouri ranks anywhere from the eighth to the twenty-first state in total STD numbers,” Rackers said.


According to data collected by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, there were 730 total documented cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in Cole County from January through November of 2017. That’s 41 more cases than 2016’s total of 689.


“Missouri rates are going up and they’re particularly going up with the 15-24-year-old age group,” Rackers said.


The 15-24-age group makes up for 50 percent of the new sexually transmitted cases each year, and there are 20 million new cases per year, Rackers said.


“We’re trying to reach students before they turn 15,” Rackers said. “That’s our goal now.”


Rackers said that focusing on the youth is a primary goal.


“That’s what our efforts are now is just trying to outreach and teach people their consequences at such a young age,” Rackers said. “I don’t think people realize their consequences when they’re so young.”


Though STD’s are a nationwide and statewide problem, Rackers said it is important to localize the issue to a county level.


Rackers will also be available to answer questions at the presentation, and she is encouraging people of all age groups to attend the meeting.


For additional information, visit Cole County Health Department.