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MASON CITY, Iowa - April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month, and the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is encouraging the public to get tested and be educated about the importance of testing after a study showing that STDs are increasing in Iowa.
Many STDs do not show symptoms, so people may not know they have an STD, so that's why testing is important, says Jennifer Stiles, infectious disease nurse with the Cerro Gordo Co. Dept. of Public Health.
"That's why it's very important that people do routine testings. Get tested every 3 months, it's not ever going to hurt," Stiles says.
Last year, Iowa saw nearly 1,000 more cases of gonorrhea than in 2016, and has seen a 142 percent increase in these cases since 2013. As to why the sudden increase, Stiles says there is one reason.
"I think some of the reason why we're seeing an increase is because we are seeing more people coming in for testing, so we can identify those STDs," Stiles says.
The Cerro Gordo Co. Dept. of Public Health, among others, offers free, confidential testing to anyone over the age of 14.