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      Education encouraged during STD Awareness Month

      April is STD Awareness Month.

      One in two young people who are sexually active will get an STD by the age of 25.

      It's statistics like this that makes Beverly Simmons push for education.

      "If anyone is sexually active, they need to know their risk factors," Simmons said.

      There are 19 million new cases of STDs in the U.S. each year, with chlamydia the most frequent with 2.8 million.

      And it's not just hitting Adams County.

      Western Illinois University saw a 20% increase in chlamydia in February.

      Janis Whitehead is a family nurse practitioner with the WIU health center, and she attributes that to an increase in STD testing.

      The health center attempts to test everyone who visits them.

      "What we're trying to do is make sure that that students come in and get it detected early, treated early, and then are able to prevent it," said Whitehead.

      KHQA reached out to a 22 year-old man who found out he had an STD, and he shared this:

      What was your reaction when you found out you had an STD? "Surprised it happened to me."

      Do you think protection for sexually active people is important? "YES- Very."

      What advice do you have for teens/adults who are sexually active? "Wear condoms and don't trust everybody."

      What has this experience taught you? "Be more careful and responsible."

      Simmons feels denial plays a big role in why many people don't get tested, and hopes the stigma will end.

      "Avoidance is not good," Simmons said. "It's a hard conversation to have but I always tell people, if you feel comfortable enough to have a sexual relationship, intimacy with a partner, then you need to have that conversation. You can't go back, but you can go forward, and live a healthier life."

      In Adams County, there were 257 positive cases for chlamydia in 2013, and Family Planning tested 129 of those cases.