There is a gonorrhea epidemic in Utah. Since 2011, the number of gonorrhea cases in the state of Utah have increased by about 300 percent for men and by more than 700 percent for women. Most of the cases are in the Wasatch Front, the metropolitan region in the north-central part of the state where about 80 percent of Utah’s population resides. Medical professionals are particularly concerned about the huge rise in gonorrhea cases among women. Historically, the increases in gonorrhea cases have been among men who have sex with men, but it’s clearly affecting many heterosexual individuals in Utah and in other states.
Women who contract gonorrhea might not experience any symptoms for the first few months after they are infected, yet they can spread the disease to others before they know they have it. Women are also at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition that is very painful and can sterilize a woman.
Many states allocate money to the health department for education, outreach and intervention programs aimed at reducing the incidence of sexually-transmitted diseases to avert a gonorrhea epidemic. But Utah, a socially conservative state where 80 percent of legislators are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, does not allocate any money. Public health officials in Utah have been doing their best to understand the gonorrhea epidemic, but are limited in their ability without any state funding.
The state health department has been visiting some universities and clinics to remind practitioners of the new guidelines for treating gonorrhea. Medical professionals all over the world are concerned about gonorrhea’s increasing resistance to antibiotics.
The only way you can know for sure if you have gonorrhea is to get tested. But, if you test positive for gonorrhea in Utah, your doctor must report your name, birth date, address and other personal information to the Utah state health department by law. Your doctor doesn’t even have to tell you that he’s doing this. It is possible, however, to get a truly anonymous test for gonorrhea and to get the treatment you need if you test positive without anyone else finding out. Follow the instructions in our free guide to an anonymous gonorrhea test.