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Protect yourselves, Northeast Michigan

We read with great dismay last week Crystal Nelson’s report that sexually transmitted diseases are on the uptick in Northeast Michigan.

While the numbers remain small — 94 known cases this year as of October across the four counties served by District Health Department No. 4 — they are increasing.

That is concerning because all STDs are preventable diseases.

Left untreated, state health officials told Nelson, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause fertility issues, such as blockages in reproductive organs. Even if the diseases are cured, the damage done to those organs cannot be reversed. Stillbirths are possible in cases of congenital syphilis.

Abstinence is the only sure-fire way to prevent STDs and some of the other complications that arise from sex, including unplanned pregnancy.

But, if you are sexually active and at risk of contracting an STD — those with multiple sexual partners are most at risk — DHD No. 4 officials say it’s important to use condoms, which will prevent most sexually transmitted infections, but not all.

Routine screening is important, too, to catch and treat infections early before they are spread.

Protect yourself, Northeast Michigan.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)