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STD Rates in Linn County on the Rise

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--Sexually transmitted diseases include a long list of ailments that many don't like talking about, but in Linn County, experts say that's exactly what needs to be done.

That's because this new report from Linn County Public Health show some STD  rates in the county are higher than state and national averages. They say everyone, especially young people, needs to get educated.

Tamara Karamitros is a proud mom of three teenagers. "It's definitely a full time job,” she said, especially when it comes to tackling issues like sex.

"We have always had the attitude that the earlier you can educate your children about sex the better. So we have always openly talked about sexual issues. Just pointing different things out to our children as appropriate,” Tamara said.

It's a step folks at Linn County Public Health are encouraging.

Their new report shows that the number of sexually transmitted diseases in the state continues to rise.

"So we're seeing more Chlamydia, we're seeing more gonorrhea with Linn County,” said Heather Meador, Public Health Nurse, and young adult, teens and females show higher rates in some cases.

"The data shows that the highest rate of infections for Chlamydia is those individuals that are female between the ages of 15 to 24,” Meador said.

Heather Meador says the number can be deceiving; the rate for women is higher, because more women are going in for routine testing that men.

Still she says a conversation needs to happen in the community.

"Obviously the best way to prevent getting an STD is by not having sex. However if you are sexually active, we want them to protect themselves and use condoms,” said Meador.

As for Tamara she says abstinence is the best protection.

"I think the main thing is just letting teens know and adults as well, what the real consequences are and hopefully through that education, they might think twice,” said Tamara.

Folks here have now teamed up with the Linn and Johnson County Sexual Health Alliance, which promotes sexual health to help lower those numbers.
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