file photo by ArtChick

By Michael Symons April 21, 2017 12:03 AM

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in New Jersey, and the state Health Department is spending $4.4 million on a campaign to reverse what is a national trend.

At a budget hearing Thursday, Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said New Jersey’s campaign includes testing, treatment, outreach to providers – and primary prevention through social media campaigns, where younger people absorb information.

“One in two sexually active 15- to 25-year-olds will get an STD unless they take action to prevent it,” Bennett said.

Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, called that statistic unbelievable – but wasn’t surprised, given conversations he’s had with younger patients in his job as a dentist.

“Not from a moral judgmental point of view but just from a health point of view, you know, try to scare the bejeebees out of them a little bit,” Van Drew said.

Read More: 1 in 2 millennials in NJ have an STD. Will $4.4M campaign help? |