Gonorrhea rates skyrocketing in sex-ed unfriendly Utah

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Ah, Utah — home of abstinence-based education, banning teachers for using the word "condom," and skyrocketing gonorrhea rates. That last piece is according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (and, you might say, basic common sense).

Since 2011, the gonorrhea rate in the state "has increased substantially," according to the CDC. We're talking a fivefold increase to 49 cases per 100,000 people in 2014. (To put this in perspective, though, the national rate is 110.7 cases per 100,000 people.) Between 2011 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, the gonorrhea rate was higher among men than women, but the percentage increase was much greater among women (715 percent) than among men (297 percent).

SEE ALSO: Bug Chasing Online: Where Men Still Seek Out HIV

At the same time, gonorrhea rates among men who report having sex with men has consistently gone down since 2009. "These demographic changes suggest that increased heterosexual transmission of gonorrhea in Utah might be occurring," says the report.

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This illustration depicts a three-dimensional (3D) computer-generated image of a number of drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeaediplococcal bacteria. Note that extending from the organisms’ exterior were type IV pili, or hair-like appendages, which in this case, are used to promote motility for these bacteria, and improve surface adherence. The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron micrographic imagery. (Photo via CDC)
Gonococci Or Neisseria Gonorrhoeae In An Uretral Pus. This Bacterium Is Reponsible For Gonorrhea Blennorrhagia Or Clap, Urethritis, Vaginitis Sexually Transmitted Disease. Microscopy X 600. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2003: Microphotograph of gonococcus (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), bacteria which causes gonorrhea. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Chart shows rate of drug resistant gonorrhea cases since 2000; 1c x 3 1/2 inches; 46.5 mm x 89 mm
Gonococci Or Neisseria Gonorrhoeae In An Uretral Pus. This Bacterium Is Reponsible For Gonorrhea Blennorrhagia Or Clap, Urethritis, Vaginitis Sexually Transmitted Disease. Microscopy X 600. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
Gonococci Or Neisseria Gonorrhoeae In An Uretral Pus. This Bacterium Is Reponsible For Gonorrhea Blennorrhagia Or Clap, Urethritis, Vaginitis Sexually Transmitted Disease. Microscopy X 600. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Dr. Vanessa Allen leads an international effort to deal with growing problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea. She has just published a ground-breaking study in the Journal of American Medicine based on research conducted at a government lab in Etobicoke that looked at samples from Ontario patients. The medical microbiologist is seen in her public health lab with a plate of cultured Neisseria ganorrhoeae. 13-01-11 Richard Lautens/Toronto Star (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Charts shows the rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the U.S. from 2002 to 2006; 1c x 3 1/2 inches; 46.5 mm x 88.9 mm
Health awareness poster features a stalwart soldier accompanied by the text 'Fight ... syphilis and gonorrhea,' 1943. Included are several tips 'Avoid exposure,' 'Avoid pickups and prostitutes,' 'If exposed, use prophylaxis,' and 'If infected, see a medical officer.' (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Red-tinted poster (by Charles Casa) features a woman in a feathered hat as she smokes a cigarette and leans against a shadowed brick wall on a street corner, accompanied by the text 'Easy to Get...Syphilis and Gonorrhea,' 1940. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
She may be; a bag of TROUBLE. Syphilis  Gonorrhea. U.S. Public Health Service, United States, 1940s. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
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Notably, Utah's sex education stresses abstinence and does not require teachers to provide information about contraceptives, and it specifically it does require information about condoms to be presented in HIV-prevention education, according to a Guttmacher report.

"This shift in the demographics of those infected with gonorrhea represents potential risk for transmission among previously unaffected sexual networks," said a CDC release. The report adds that "this information will help to guide targeting of gonorrhea testing, treatment, and public health interventions." Who knows, maybe one day they'll even start requiring teachers to talk about condoms during sex-ed.

The post Gonorrhea Rates Skyrocketing In Sex-Ed Unfriendly Utah appeared first on Vocativ.

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