Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STI) increased last year in Minnesota according to data from that state’s health department and reported in The Minnesota Independent.

“What surprised us with the 2008 chlamydia data was the sudden and large increase in cases among males,” said Peter Carr, director of the STI and HIV section at the health department. “We saw a 13 percent increase among 15- to 24-year-old males, compared to the 2007 report,” Carr added. Moreover, Minnesota saw a spike in syphilis cases mainly among men who have sex with men (MSM).

All together, 14,250 cases of chlamydia, 3,036 cases of gonorrhea and 263 cases of syphilis were reported to the health department. Rates of chylamydia and syphilis—both of which increase the risk of HIV transmission—have been going up steadily for the past 10 years while gonorrhea rates were rather stationary.

“It is unacceptable that the rates of sexually transmitted diseases continue to rise in Minnesota. We must develop an action plan to curb it, ” said state Senator John Marty. Marty suggested that the state invest $1 million in fighting gonorrhea and chlamydia.

A measure to incorporate comprehensive sex education in public schools has not passed the state legislature, according to the article, because Governor Tim Pawlenty, allied with conservative Christians, has threatened to veto the issue.