DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported on Monday that the state followed a national trend in 2018 with an increase of diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) with one exception.

Preliminary data show 14,695 cases of chlamydia (5.8 percent increase from 2017), 4,839 cases of gonorrhea (28.3 percent increase) and 283 cases of syphilis (1.7 percent decrease) reported to IDPH in 2018.

IDPH said it is unclear if the increase is due to better access to testing, increased transmission or both. They also noted a potential connection to drug use and STDs as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in February observed an increase in the use of injection drugs, methamphetamine, and heroin among persons who have recently acquired syphilis. They note that the data indicates a similar trend in Iowa as the number of individuals diagnosed with early stages of syphilis who reported having used methamphetamine more than doubled from 2016-2018.

Thoughts: IDPH recommends the correct and consistent use of condoms, along with regular testing for the prevention and control of STDs.

I’ll recommend something far more effective: abstain from sex until marriage and remain monogamous when married to someone of the opposite sex (I don’t promote same-sex monogamy because, well, it’s sinful and it’s never “safe”). If you have not refrained in the past, you can start today. Also, it’s not a surprise to see a connection with drug use and STDs, who makes excellent decisions while under the influence of drugs? No one.

If you have been diagnosed with an STD and you are still out there having sex then you are an utterly selfish person.

What IDPH does not say is that these increases also correlate with a decline in cultural mores about sex and years of comprehensive sex education. The fact “safe sex” has been a mantra in sex education for years, and we still have an increase in STDs shows me that it is an utter failure.

Abstinence until marriage, and then remaining monogamous, is the only 100 percent effective way to avoid an STD.

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