ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The number of teens in the St. Louis-area with sexually transmitted diseases remains astoundingly high, according to the city’s health commissioner.

Those numbers have dropped by about 700 from last year, but St. Louis city still sits near the top of the sexually transmitted disease report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest CDC numbers place St. Louis City second in the nation for both chlamydia and gonorrhea rates with the highest concentration in teens. Philadelphia County, Pa., had the country’s highest chlamydia rate and Montgomery County, Ala., had the highest for gonorrhea.

More than 9,000 new chlamydia cases and nearly 4,000 new gonorrhea cases were reported in St. Louis and St. Louis County in 2012.

Nationally, rates of gonorrhea were up 4 percent from the previous year and chlamydia rates remained the same.

Melba Moore, St. Louis City Health Commissioner, said her department wants to do more to education young people about protection.

“We understand the schools want to push abstinence, but we also want to be able to give age-appropriate messaging too,” she added.

Moore said the health department is available to conduction education presentations in all area schools, and make teens aware of the many condom distribution sites already set up within the community.

“This is a behavior change. We have to change behavior. We have to help people understand that they must protect themselves,” she said.

The key takeaway Moore said she wants teens to understand is “Protect Yourself, Respect Yourself.”

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