Nebraska is seeing a big increase in sexually transmitted infections with no end in sight

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Parts of Nebraska are reporting a significant increase in sexually transmitted infections, following a national trend.

Now one agency is sounding the alarm to help others avoid a life-changing disease.

“This year don’t let an STI be the gift that keeps on giving,” the Central District Health Department said.

Over the past year, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties have all seen a big rise in STIs.

As of last week, there were at least 440 cases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.

Chlamydia makes up the vast majority of those cases, accounting for more than 300 infections.

The symptoms can be mild, but they can also cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system.

According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STIs continued to increase nationwide in 2021, even in the middle of pandemic restrictions.

Worse yet, officials said there are no signs that this trend is slowing down.

Abstinence is obviously the best way to protect yourself from STIs.  For anyone who’s sexually active, officials can’t stress enough the need for condoms.

Several recent studies have found that unprotected sex is becoming more common, including in high school.

Almost half of new STIs involve people ages 15 to 24, resulting in $16 billion in direct medical costs.

Health officials also suggest avoiding social media sites for hookups and getting tested even if you don’t have symptoms.

Here in Lincoln, UNL is hosting its last STI testing day of the year Tuesday afternoon.

Head to the Nebraska Union between 3 and 5 p.m. for a free and anonymous exam.

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