Gonorrhea rates in Iowa surge 75% in 3 years

Preliminary data from 2016 suggests chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections all rose over the previous year with gonorrhea rates spiking 75 percent from 2013 to 2016, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

While the overall rise in sexual transmitted disease rates in Iowa mirror national trends, the sharp rise in gonorrhea cases is unique. The rise can partially be attributed to an increased number of infections among the state's gay community. Of the 1,300 gonorrhea infections reported in 2016, approximately a quarter were reported among men who have sex with men, according to a report from Iowa Public Radio.

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The higher rate among the gay community can be somewhat attributed to its small size, according to George Walton, the STD program manager for IDPH.

"It's not necessarily an increase in high-risk behaviors or anything like that," said Mr. Walton, according to IPR. "It's just since it's a smaller network [and] the infection can spread more quickly within that network."

Still, according to Mr. Walton, the rise in infections among the gay community and increased and improved gonorrhea testing processes cannot alone account for the sharp rise of infections.

More articles on infection control: 
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