Health

Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in the U.S.

A look at rates in El Paso

Sexually transmitted infections

The U.S. is seeing alarming rates of sexually transmitted infections, specifically syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia.

The Centers for Disease Control reported numbers have increased for the fourth consecutive year.

The City of El Paso Department of Health is tracking an uptick in local diagnosed cases of sexually transmitted infections, or STI.

In 2017, nearly 2.3 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia were diagnosed, according to preliminary data.

That's the highest number ever reported nationwide, breaking the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases, said the CDC.

Emily Robinson, a nurse practitioner in El Paso, said the stigma behind sexually transmitted infections continues to be a factor in why many people do not get tested.

"There's just a stigma surrounding STI's which is that if you are to be tested or you ask about testing, you feel judged or you feel like your health care provider is going to be able to meet your needs," said Robinson.

Robinson said that in many communities there is also a lack of acces to health care, screening and treatment for STIs.

During the National STD Prevention Conference in August, David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors urged President Donald Trump and the Health and Human Services Department declare STDs in America a public health crisis.

Robinson said many health care leaders are trying to break the stigma of getting tested. Many are now referring to STDs as infections.

"Now it's sexually transmitted infections, it's very important to note that the majority of STI's are cured or can be treated," Robinson said.

In 2017, the city health department reported the following numbers:

- Chlamydia: 5,135 cases

- Gonorrhea: 454 cases

- Syphilis: 435 cases

This is not over yet, but the health department has already reported 5,120 cases.

For more on diagnosed cases of sexually transmitted infections in El Paso, click here.

The Department of Public Health provides testing and treatment for STIs for a flat fee if $40.00. It does not turn anyone away, even if they are unable to pay.

 


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