The South Central Public Health District is urging residents to practice safe sex, as data show a spike in cases of sexually transmitted diseases in Blaine County—including five cases of HIV.

    Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 28 of 2017, there were 38 cases of STDs reported in Blaine County—35 cases of chlamydia, two cases of gonorrhea and one case of syphilis. During the same time in 2018, there were 59 STD cases reported—52 cases of chlamydia, one case of gonorrhea, one case of syphilis and the five cases of HIV. In 2017 there were no HIV cases reported.

    STD cases in Health District 5, which consists of Blaine, Twin Falls, Camas, Jerome, Minidoka, Lincoln, Cassia and Gooding counties, have increased overall, from 522 cases between Jan. 1 and Aug. 28 in 2017 to 559 cases to that date this year, according to data from the South Central Public Health District. STD numbers did not increase in all of those counties, however.

    South Central Public Health District epidemiologist Christi Dawson-Skuza said the data consist of cases that arise in Idaho and those that transfer from other states or countries.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 2013, Idaho has had a chlamydia rate of between 325.4 and 394.5 per 100,000 population. That number is in line with neighboring states Wyoming and Utah, but below those of Montana, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.

    According to a report by the CDC, nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, a number that surpassed those of 2016 by more than 200,000 cases and marked the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases.

    According to the Health District, some of this year’s increase in Health District 5 may be due to cases contracted in previous years but left undiagnosed.

    The organization noted that bacterial STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated, but if left untreated can cause long-term health problems that include infertility, in both men and women, and pelvic inflammatory disease in women.

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