Sexually Transmitted Diseases Increasing

Apr 20, 2017

NJ Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett

New Jersey lawmakers are concerned about an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

State health officials say 50 percent of sexually active 15-to-25 year olds will get a sexually transmitted disease unless they take precautions to prevent it.

Senator Jeff Van Drew says that's troubling.

"I have noticed with younger people, they feel that they're invincible and they really don't worry about it anymore, and STDs are a greater problem than ever. I wonder if we should have a renewed energy toward that issue."

Senator Jennifer Beck heard one of her son's friends say that HIV is curable so there's no need to worry about it anymore.

"There's a certain naivety in the younger generation that doesn't appreciate the seriousness of some of this sexually transmitted diseases and misinformation suggesting to them that things like HIV, which maybe can be managed but still can't be cured, that they think it's not a big deal."

State Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett says the state is doing all it can to deal with the problem.

“What we’re doing is primary prevention. We’re doing outreach and education. We are doing testing and we are doing treatment. We have a 340b drug program which ensures that free drugs are available to combat STDs if someone has been diagnosed.’

Bennett hopes those efforts have an impact on the younger age group.

“I think younger folks weren’t aware of the message, and we’re now using the different means that younger folks use to access news. So we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, all the types of social media platforms they use to get their information.”