OPINION

Health and Wellness: It’s time to talk about STIs

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

Yep, we’re going to talk about sexually transmitted infections. The information provided here is as local as possible, to avoid any doubt that these diseases are present in your community, your school and probably the café/church/club where you spend time. 

The data on cases of sexually transmitted infections shows fewer cases than are actually out there. Cases are often underreported because the infected person is too embarrassed to go to a clinic. Although some STIs must be reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health, their data only reflects the number of cases that have been diagnosed. 

In 2019 (the most recent set of full-year data), Dallas County reported 290 cases of chlamydia and 73 of gonorrhea. Our population was about 93,400 at that time. Check this website for local population information, census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/dallascountyiowa,IA/PST045219, and the website tracking.idph.iowa.gov/Health/Sexually-Transmitted-Diseases for more information on sexually transmitted diseases. 

There are two important messages about STIs. First, sexually transmitted diseases can be treated. Untreated STIs are the reason for continued spread of infections. Secondly, effective prevention includes protected sexual activity and honest conversations between partners. 

Contact Dallas County Health Department for locations of free and low-cost clinics and protective supplies at phn@dallascountyiowa.gov or 515-993-3750.