The spread of sexually transmitted diseases increased in 2016 in local counties and across the United States.
It’s the third year of overall increasing rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of these new diagnoses — 1.6 million — were cases of chlamydia.
There were also 470,000 gonorrhea cases and almost 28,000 cases of primary and secondary syphilis nationwide – the most infectious stages of the disease.
“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”
In Montgomery County, cases of some STDs have also risen in the past year. Cases of chlamydia increased nearly 400 in 2016 from the year before to 3,502. Gonorrhea cases also increased from 1,069 in 2015 to 1,417 last year. The county also saw an increase in cases of syphilis, but it was not a dramatic rise, said Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.
“We’re working to prevent STDs,” Suffoletto said. “We want to educate people about the need to get tested, because people may have an STD and they may not realize they have it.”
In Ohio, 60,496 cases of chlamydia were reported in 2016 —an increase from 56,726 in 2015 and 53,141 cases reported in 2012. There were 20,487 cases of gonorrhea in 2016, also an increase from 16,564 in 2015 and 16,493 cases reported in 2012.
Clark County Combined Health District offers testing for sexually transmitted diseases — including for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — at its Reproductive Health & Wellness Clinic, which receives funding from the Ohio Department of Health reproductive health and wellness program Title X grant.
Clark County had an increase in chlamydia cases in 2016 with 697, compared to 631 in 2015, according to data from the Ohio Health Department. There were only 442 cases reported in 2012. Gonorrhea cases also increased to 279 in 2016 compared to 142 cases reported in 2015 and 158 reported in 2012.
Total syphilis cases increased from nine reported in 2012 to 45 reported last year in Clark County.
Syphilis rates increased in Clark County by nearly 18 percent overall from 2015 to 2016. The majority of these cases occur among men – especially gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. There was a 36 percent increase in rates of syphilis among women, and a 28 percent increase in syphilis among newborns — congenital syphilis — during this period.
“In order to prevent HIV in Clark County, the Healthy Life Skills for HIV Prevention program is designed to teach attitude and behavior skills which aim to decrease and ultimately halt the spread of HIV in Clark County and beyond. Educational presentations, workshops, testing and counseling services are provided to aid in this effort,” according to the website.
Butler County saw a slight decrease in reported chlamydia cases, with 1,393 in 2016 compared to 1,397 in 2015. It was still an increase from the 1,111 cases of chlamydia reported in 2012. There were 479 cases of gonorrhea in 2016 and 409 in 2015 compared to the 340 reported in 2012.
CDC officials encouraged local and state health departments to refocus efforts on STD investigations and clinical service infrastructure, and said communities should talk openly about sexual health and getting tested regularly. Using condoms and practicing monogamy is also encouraged in people who are sexually active.
“CDC uses its national-level intelligence to detect and respond to STD outbreaks while supporting the nation’s on-the-ground workers who are spending each day protecting communities from STDs,” Mermin said.
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