Rising Rates Of STDs Among Young People And Men

Nov 25, 2015


Secondary stage syphilis sores (lesions) on the palms of the hands. Referred to as "palmar lesions." Photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spiking at an alarming rate nationally. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nevada in particular has the one of highest rates of syphilis in the country. Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum  and can cause long-term complications if not properly treated. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray checks in with Jennifer Howell, an expert with the Washoe County Health District Sexual Health Program, to learn more.



Local health officials are especially alarmed by the rising rate of sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis in certain demographics. For young people in the 15 to 25 age group, Jennifer Howell says the spike has been attributed to “the rise of the use of social media apps to meet people, a lot of times those meetings are with somebody you don’t have full information about.”

Men having sex with men is another group, Howell says, with increased cases of STDs in Washoe County and across the country.  Howell says prevention strategies focus on identifying risky behaviors.

For more information about the symptoms of and treatments for STDs, click here.