We gotta talk: As condom use declines, STDs are going up

Tracey Bathe, health educator for Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services, says she dreams of not having the conversation anymore — the conversation about getting people to use condoms.

“I want talking about sex and condoms so normalized that negotiating isn’t needed and condom use is just expected,” Bathe says.

And yet, the conversation about how to have the conversation appears more necessary than ever.

For the fourth year in a row, reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases have increased in the United States.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases have reached record highs, the Centers for Disease Control reported Aug. 28 at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C.

STDs were the most frequently reported communicable disease in Boone County in 2016, according to the “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Summary” published by the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services. Of the 1,368 STD cases, 1,167 were chlamydia, or 85 percent. And since 2007, the reported cases of chlamydia have increased 26 percent in Boone County.

Chanel Dority