High STD Rate in Cascade County - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

High STD Rate in Cascade County

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Cascade County has the third highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the state and officials say that many of the STD's are originating from one specific area. ABC fox Montana's Justin Campbell spent some time digging deeper to find out what diseases are most prevalent and where they are coming from.

William Lahr is a tattoo artists in downtown Great Falls and was surprised to learn Great Falls had one of the highest STD rates in the state.

“I thought everybody with the new insurance would be getting checked and doing the measures to keep that from happening,"said William Lahr.

 But that's not the case, sexually transmitted diseases scare William because of his line of work.
 
“The industry I am dealing directly with the blood that makes me a little scared for what I'm doing for a living,"said Lahr.

In 2013 there were roughly 500 cases of chlamydia, 6 gonorrhea, only 1 of HIV/AIDS. So far half way through this year there's been 300 chlamydia, double the amount of gonorrhea and 0 HIV/AIDS.

Tom Lambert with the county health says a lot of the cases are not coming from Great Falls especially gonorrhea.
 
“When I'm contacting these people and generally I traced it to individuals that have been up into the oil fields,” said Lambert.
 
Since workers don't live in the oil fields or stay there long, when they come back home to Great Falls they are also bringing infections.

"People coming back into a community and coming into contact with somebody and then they become infected,” said Lambert.
 
Most of the gonorrhea cases are older people while chlamydia remains a younger demographic, and don't even know they are infected.
 
“Never even knew they had an infection and wouldn't have known until it started impacting their health,”said Lambert.
 
Another issue he stated lots of cases go unreported, because people are too scared to come in and get tested, but he reassured your personal identity is safe and need you to come in.
 
“Because if we loose community trust we have lost the ability to help the community,”said Lambert.

William will make sure his hands stay in those gloves while working.





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