Research finds STDs?are at all-time high

Much to the worry of public health officials, new national data show that cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are climbing in the United States and have reached an all-time high.

A report released recently from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that though rates of these sexually transmitted diseases fluctuated over the last five years, all three spiked in 2014. The center called the increases “alarming.”

The volume of chlamydia cases last year was particularly staggering. Nationwide, there were about 1.4 million cases, which is the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the CDC.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common and curable diseases, but if not treated can cause serious problems such as infertility in women. Officials estimate that undiagnosed STDs cause 20,000 women in the country to become infertile each year.

More than half of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases are among people between the ages of 15 and 24. Officials recommend that sexually active women under 25 be tested annually for these diseases.

Health officials recommend using condoms during sex to prevent the spread of these diseases.

—Soumya Karlamangla

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Household brushes help clean vehicles

Here are some hints for cleaning your vehicle with old household brushes:

• Mascara brush to clean inside small openings.

• Toilet brush to clean tires without much backbreaking effort.

• Large paintbrush to swipe upholstery, dashboard, etc., of crumbs, soil and dust.

• Smaller paintbrush to swipe smaller areas, crevices and hard-to-reach places.

• Whisk broom to sweep carpet of dirt, sand and debris.

— King Features

U.S. to stop selling?inserts for passports

Attention, international travelers: The U.S. government will stop providing extra pages for visas and stamps when your passports fill up.

As of Jan. 1, the State Department is eliminating the 24-page inserts that Americans can buy when their passports lack space for entry and exit stamps. A statement says the decision will enhance security and bring the U.S. in line with international passport standards.

That means if your U.S. passport fills up, you’ll have to buy a new one. U.S. citizens can purchase a 28-page or 52-page passport. It will accept requests for extra pages through the end of the year.

— Bradley Klapper

Associated Press