Numbers released by the Bell County Public Health District show Bell County has some of the highest numbers of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in Texas.

According to the numbers, Bell County ranks second in the state for Gonorrhea and third in the state for Chlamydia.

The health district released the numbers Thursday as a way to recognize that April is STD awareness month.

The health district said it is working with area leaders to reduce STD rates in Bell County, through education and behavior change recommendations.

Gene Mikeska, with the Bell Co. Public Health District, sent a press release that laid out ways to prevent STDs and when to be tested.

-The most reliable way to avoid STD infections is to not have sex.

-People who are sexually active may not even know if they have an STD. Symptoms can be absent with STDs so infection may not be apparent to an individual or their partner(s).

-Annual testing for STDs is recommended for the sexually active to identify treatment needs if they exist and reduce the spread of disease.

-Exposure risks can be reduced with sound education about STDs and the proper use of appropriate protection during sexual contact.

-Part of a good STD reduction strategy is to include candid discussions between parents and their children about STDs and how to prevent them.

For more information about STDs, visit the Bell County Public Health District website by clicking here.