STIs increase by 6 percent in Minn.

The reported rate of sexually transmitted infections in Minnesota increased 6 percent in 2003 after a 19 percent increase in 2002.

The Minnesota Department of Health recorded 14,111 STIs in 2003, up from 13,318 in 2002.

STI rates were highest among black Americans, according to the health department statistics. Ramsey and Hennepin counties had the highest STI rates in the state.

Eli Coleman, a professor at the University and director of the Program in Human Sexuality, said gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia can be spread through unprotected sexual contact.

The best way to avoid contracting an STI, Coleman said, is to “use a condom, be abstinent or make sure you and your partner are monogamous.”