FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jen Aulwes
Statement of Sarah Stoesz, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota Department of Health released the latest report on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Minnesota. The report shows that chlamydia increased by 7% from 2014 to 2015 and 61% in the last decade. Gonorrhea rates remained stable over the past year. Young adults ages 15-24 accounted for 64% of chlamydia and 47% of gonorrhea cases reported in 2015. Syphilis rates decreased by 4% from 2014 to 2015, making only a negligible impact in the 246% rise in syphilis cases in Minnesota since 2005.
Last year, Planned Parenthood’s expert clinicians administered more than 100,000 STD tests including HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV at low or no cost. Planned Parenthood provided health education to more than 40,000 youth and adults throughout Minnesota and North Dakota with a focus on reducing STDs, HIV, and unintended pregnancies.
Throughout April (Get Yourself Tested Month), Planned Parenthood clinics in Willmar, Bemidji, Rochester, and St. Cloud are offering free STD testing for all. All other Planned Parenthood clinics in Minnesota are aiming to raise awareness of STDs in collaboration with CRUSH, a partnership of youth serving organizations and community members formed to address the increasing rates of Chlamydia infections among teens and young adults.
The following is a statement from Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.
“Every person in Minnesota deserves access to health care and information to help them prevent STDs and stay healthy. Today’s STD report requires a strong community response, and Planned Parenthood is committed to being a part of the solution.”
“It’s clear from today’s report that there is much work to be done to reduce STDs across Minnesota. In the last decade alone, Chlamydia rates have risen by 61%. With young adults accounting for 64% of chlamydia cases and 47% of gonorrhea cases, it’s clear that we must increase our focus on comprehensive sex education and access to reproductive health care for young people.
“STDs take a toll on all communities throughout the state. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported communicable disease in Minnesota, and its rates are highest among young women. Many people don’t experience symptoms, but if left untreated, chlamydia brings a risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pain and even infertility. Rising STD rates often have a disproportionate effect on underserved and minority populations. In 2015, syphilis rates increased by 300% among American Indians—a devastating trend that we cannot let continue.
For more than 85 years, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota has worked in our region to make sure all people have the information and the means to make free and responsible decisions about whether and when to have children. Planned Parenthood operates 19 clinics in Minnesota and South Dakota including our Online Health Services, providing quality and affordable family planning, reproductive health care services, and education to nearly 65,000 people each year.
Visit us on the web at www.ppmns.org
April 11, 2016