STD rates for Ga., Richmond Co. at all-time high

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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

Donnie Watson and his fellow GRU Classmates are in a battle zone.

"You have no idea who has it," Watson said.

A grim reality when it comes to sexually-transmitted diseases.

"It's something no one really thinks about, guess that's why it's something that's never talked about," Watson said.

Richmond and Columbia counties are both in the red.

In 2011 alone, there were over 2,700 STD cases for both counties combined. Experts expect those numbers to increase.

"People don't realize how prevalent STDs are, especially in Georgia, but in Augusta," said Katrina Barry, a nurse at Augusta's Georgia Department of Public Health.

She has seen many cases come through her office, many that think they are immune to the disease.

"They're here in Augusta and just because maybe you have been fortunate to not contract one now doesn't mean that you won't in the future," Barry said.

A message she is trying to inform everyone, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24.

"I think people are afraid, they're afraid to get tested because they don't really wanna know if they have something," Barry said.

Barry says fear won't stop the spread of STDs.

She has a lot of people who say, "I didn't think this would happen to me."

Her response is, "Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD."

But for Watson, he wants people to spread the word, not the disease.

"I feel like there should be more awareness about it, people need to know how dangerous and scary this is," Watson said.

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