POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - New statistics show southeast Missouri counties have some of the highest sexually transmitted disease rates in the state.
Health care providers say they are not surprised by the numbers.
Suzanne Williams with the Butler County Health Department does sex education presentations for local schools and organizations.
She attributes part of the high number of STD cases to uneducated teenagers.
"I do believe that teenagers are curious and want to know what it's all about," she said.
She says the education programs provided by the health department will have a gradual effect on the STD numbers in Butler County.
In 2009, Butler County ranked near the bottom of southeast Missouri counties in chlamydia rates, while Pemiscot and Mississippi counties ranked towards the top.
Those two counties also had higher rates of gonorrhea and HIV than any other county in southeast Missouri.
Williams says that's not surprising.
"We have lots of rural areas, the demographics that we have, the socioeconomic status of the people that we have and the education level," she said.
She and other health department officials I spoke with say teenagers and young adults often get the blame for high STD rates, but says that's not always the case.
"We have a lot of people who are older who think because they can no longer have children, that there is no need for protection, when in fact that is not true," she said. "They are just as susceptible as our young population."
Learn how many cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea were reported in your Missouri Heartland county from 2002 to 2009, according to a database compiled by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Pemiscot Co. - 67.1 cases per 10,000
- Mississippi Co. - 52.8 cases per 10,000
- New Madrid Co. - 42.3 cases per 10,000
- Cape Girardeau Co. - 39.5 cases per 10,000
- Scott Co. - 39.2 cases per 10,000
- Dunklin Co. - 36.7 cases per 10,000
- Butler Co. - 35.4 cases per 10,000
- St. Francois Co. - 22.4 cases per 10,000
- Stoddard Co. - 20 cases per 10,000
- Bollinger Co. - 16.9 cases per 10,000
- Madison Co. - 8.9 cases per 10,000
- Perry Co. - 8.5 cases per 10,000
- Ripley Co. - 7.5 cases per 10,000
- Ste. Genevieve Co. - 7.4 cases per 10,000
- Iron Co. - 7 cases per 10,000
- Carter Co. - 6.8 cases per 10,000
- Wayne Co. - 5.6 cases per 10,000
- Reynolds Co. - 3.2 cases per 10,000
For more information on STD cases check out the database compiled by St. Louis Post-Dispatch.