GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Health officials warn that sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Kansas, especially in rural communities.

“Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis are all on the rise,” said Randi Montgomery, Finney County Health Department Community Health Educator.

Finney County health officials said the spike comes from young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, and with a young median age in Southwest Kansas, it hits the rural areas a bit harder. 

“More people are less likely to use protection,” she said. “They are more likely to be under the influence, while doing sexual activities, and they are more likely to have multiple sex partners, so it just spreads faster.”

In Finney County alone, where the population is about 40,000 people, she said 270 people are infected with an STD or have tested positive. 

Even more young people may currently be affected and not know it.

“They don’t know what’s wrong, they don’t have people they can confide in,” she said. 

Health officials stress that every appointment is kept confidential so anyone who has concerns about an STD should come in and get medical help right away.