STD cases are still up in Mercer County, health officials say pr - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

STD cases are still up in Mercer County, health officials say prostitution is to blame

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STD cases are up in Mercer County, and it is believed an increase in prostitution is to blame.

Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department say prostitution is mainly a problem in bigger areas of the county, like Princeton and Bluefield.  One problem area is Mercer Street in Princeton, according to police.

"It's ridiculous.  You can stand in our window where we live and watch numerous prostitutes walk back and forth," said Krystal Hill.

Princeton Police say they do stings every month to get prostitutes off the streets.

People say a lot of prostitutes often have one thing in common.

"We've noticed that they all drink Mountain Dew and I think that is a sign that they are within the profession of what they do," said Edith Mills, who says she has lived in Mercer County for more than 60 years.

Police say there used to be close to 17 prostitutes in that area.  That number is now down to about two or three, according to Princeton Police officers.

The Mercer County Health Department helps treat people with STDs.  Nurses with the department say in recent years there are usually about 10 to 15 STD cases a month.  In June, there were 28; in July, there were 27; and in August, there were 22.

Nurses at the health department educate the public about the dangers of STDs; some can be deadly.  They say people can contact the Mercer County Health Department to get a free STD test.