Douglas County STD rates remain at "epidemic" levels

Omaha, NE – Douglas County health officials say more young people need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

There were 2,777 cases of Chlamydia and 928 cases of gonorrhea in Douglas County in 2007. Young people ages 15 to 24 made up 66 percent of those cases.

Valda Boyd Ford is Community Response Coordinator for the Douglas County STD Initiative. She says there's a stigma associated with STD testing that needs to be removed. Ford says young people should be tested for STDs as they would for other conditions.

Ford says education is key to preventing STDs, particularly as younger people are contracting the diseases. She says in some cases, people as young as 11 and 12 years old are contracting an STD.