Rates of reportable sexually transmitted diseases rose sharply in Minnesota last year.
The number of syphilis cases increased 64 percent, while gonorrhea cases were up 26 percent, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday.
Chlamydia, the number one infectious disease in the state, rose 4 percent to a new high of 18,724 cases in 2013.
"Part of the challenge is just getting a message that really reaches young adults at an age when they're feeling invincible," said Kris Ehresmann, director of the Minnesota Department of Health's infectious disease division. "Checking in with a health provider isn't their number one thought."
The trend underscores the importance of STD prevention, testing, and awareness, Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said.
If left untreated, gonorrhea can spread to joints and organs, causing life-threatening complications. Untreated syphilis can cause blindness, mental illness, dementia and death.
Infertility, premature births and infant pneumonia are also associated with exposure to STDs.