SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Cases of sexually transmitted diseases are rising sharply in Woodbury County and the reasoning behind the spike is unclear.
Grace Hoaks is a student at Iowa State University, a place where many young adults are out on their own for the first time.
“I remember when I moved in for college. I ended up getting sick and I had to go the doctor’s office and there were so many condoms, plus you can get some birth control there,” said Hoaks. “You could definitely get help if you wanted to,” said Grace.
The encouragement of safe sex is especially important at the time when two sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Woodbury County.
According to data from the Siouxland District Health Department, 172 cases of gonorrhea were reported in Woodbury County in 2017. That number nearly doubled with 343 cases in 2018.
That’s a 99 percent jump from the previous year. During that same year, chlamydia also increased by 33 percent.
Tyler Brock, the deputy public health director, explained the reasoning behind the spike in numbers over the years.
“Cases have been rising the last couple of years but again, they’re rising not just in Sioux City and Woodbury County but state-wide and nation-wide as well,” said Brock. “So, this is an ongoing issue for not just us but everywhere.”
Chlamydia was the most common STD reported in the United States, with infection most prevalent in younger people.
Kelly Hoaks is a mother to two young adults and she believes the way to stop the disease from spreading among teens is to discuss safe sex before college.
“In high-school, I don’t think there’s those opportunities. Students are embarrassed to go into drug store and get protection. Most parents are not open enough to say ‘Hey. If you need something we’ll provide it’,” said Kelly.
While condoms are a way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections, the Siouxland District Health Department said abstinence is always the best way.