Illinois has seen a decrease in the rate of new HIV infections, the virus that causes AIDS. But other sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Illinois Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck says there are plenty of reasons to be concerned, particularly about other types of STDs.
Medical and public health professionals are meeting in Springfield this week to talk about STD treatment and prevention. The rate of HIV infections are down 21 percent, and mother-to-child transmissions during pregnancy are down to a tiny fraction of a percent.
"We have some of the highest rates in the country -- we have every single county in the state of Illinois reporting at least one case of Chlamydia, for instance."
-LaMar Hasbrouck, Illinois Public Health Director
Hasbrouck says the majority of new infections are in the Chicago area. A federal study from 2010 ranked Cook County first in the nation for reported cases of gonorrhea and syphilis, and second for Chlamydia.
The state Department of Public Health is starting a new condom distribution effort. Hasbrouck says, other than abstinence, condoms are the best way to prevent the transmission of sexual disease.
Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report