GREENVILLE - Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), has doubled in its rate and expanded its age range down to young people in the last several years in the county, said Dennis Wein, infectious disease nurse with the Darke County Health Department.
When Wein first started with the Darke County Health Department eight years ago, he said there were maybe one or two cases of 14-15 year old children with Chlamydia, that has now risen to six to eight cases last year, he said.
“It means something has gone wrong in their living style or education,” Wein said. “They’ve been taking health education out of the curriculum in a lot of places…and I wonder if kids are being shortchanged on their education. A lot of parents aren’t comfortable talking about it, or they’re not home because they’re working or whatever, but when kids lack that education, they get themselves caught in a jam.”
Chlamydia has gone from 30-40 cases two years ago, to 76 the next year, and then 140 cases last year; nearly doubling in 12 months, Wein said.
“The problem with treating STDs is first of all, you’ve gotten it from somebody else, and if you do not break the cycle at the same time, you’ll get it again,” Wein commented. “That’s where some people are repeat cases, they don’t seem to quite understand that you’ve gotta break the cycle.”
Out of 284 communicable diseases reported in 2012, Wein estimated half of those were Chlamydia, though the official numbers are still out, he said.
Symptoms of Chlamydia vary between men and women, but show up between seven and 28 days of sexual contact, while most women and some men have no symptoms, said ETR Associates (www.etr.org). Women may experience vaginal discharge, bleed between menstruation, burning or pain during urination, an urge to urinate more frequently, and pain in their abdominal area, said ETR. Men may experience white, watery drip from the penis, burning or pain during urination, frequent urination, and swollen or tender testicles.
Chlamydia is treated through an antibiotic, though both partners must be treated at the same time in order to break the cycle, said Wein.
Because the Darke County Health Department is such a small health department, Wein said they do not offer STD testing or treatment. He refers residents to Montgomery County, he said, where, if patients call ahead for an appointment, they can be tested and treated in the same visit. The Montgomery County Health Department offers a sliding scale for those patients who may need a little help paying their bill, said Wein. Contact the Montgomery County Health Department by calling 937-225-4550 or visit www.phdmc.org/health/clinic/std for more information.