ST. PAUL (AP) -- Health officials are worried that among Minnesota teens, rates of two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases are among the highest in the nation.
"It's been an increasing statistic," said Kevin Sitter, program coordinator for STD/HIV prevention at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Prevention officials say 1998 statistics show Minneapolis teens from 13 years old to 19 years old had the highest chlamydia and gonorrhea rate of teens in any U.S. city.
Minneapolis was followed by Chicago, St. Paul, San Francisco and New York.
In 1999, Minneapolis reported 4,100 cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea. Statewide that same year, there were reports of 14,500 cases of chlamydia and 6,700 cases of gonorreah.
Health officials say teens are not getting the message that they need to be careful if they choose to have sex. In response, prevention workers are stepping up efforts on one approach: having teens teach teens.
"Peer educators are now able to share techniques and learn new ways to reach their peers," said Sitter, a coordinator of the event.
On Saturday, teen teachers from more than 75 groups hosted the first ever "STD Extravaganza" in north Minneapolis.
Teens heard about the event through word of mouth and mailings. For the dozens of teens that stopped by, the event did not seem like a lecture.
"I think your peers are easier to talk to," said Briana Jackson, 12, who attends a charter school in St. Paul.
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