St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The overall numbers remain relatively small, but the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases reported in Minnesota rose sharply last year. The Minnesota Department of Health describes the increase as “concerning,” particularly among drug users.

The data shows there was a 30-percent jump in new syphilis cases and a 25-percent increase in new gonorrhea cases. When grouped with more common chlamydia, the increase was around 10-percent. The report also looked at new cases of hepatitis C, which shot up 38-percent. The total number of HIV infections in the statewide was nearly unchanged from 2015.

“This alarming rise in STDs and hepatitis C is of urgent concern,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “MDH and local public health departments, clinicians and our community partners are using every resource we have to maintain the health of Minnesotans and protect them from the health consequences that can be caused by untreated disease. If funding for the prevention of infectious disease in Minnesota continues to be reduced as we have seen in recent years, we will not be able to put an end to these rising infection rates.”

The health department says there were 28,631 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported last year. The total from 2015 was 25,986. The most common STD remains chlamydia with 22,675 cases in 2016. That was up about 7-percent from the previous year. The state received 5104 reports of gonorrhea cases and 852 cases of syphilis. There were 290 HIV cases reported to health officials in 2016, while the 2015 total was 298.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.

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