Washtenaw County, Michigan, which comprises the Ann Arbor area, is reporting an increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and gonorrhea cases in particular, are seeing record highs.
The Washtenaw County Health Department says there were 560 cases of gonorrhea in 2017 – the highest number of cases in 25 years. Chlamydia and syphilis rates have also increased in recent years. There were 1,701 cases of chlamydia and 43 cases of syphilis in 2017.
Health officials say the increases mirror statewide and national trends. There are about 20 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About half of these infections are in people between the ages of 15 and 24.
While gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are preventable and treatable, they can cause serious health problems if left ignored. Understanding risk, abstaining from sex, reducing your number of sexual partners and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies.
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“If you’re sexually active, it is essential to get tested and get immediate treatment when necessary,” says Heather Vaquera, prevention specialist at the Washtenaw County Health Department. “If your health care provider doesn’t bring up testing, be sure to ask about it.”
Many local HIV and STD testing providers, primary health care providers and women’s health care providers offer testing and treatment.