Officials with the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) report an increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the area during the first half of 2016.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae/CDC
Neisseria gonorrhoeae/CDC

According to health department data, there have been 174 cases of chlamydia, 22 cases of gonorrhea and 6 cases of syphilis through June.

A TCHD press release notes that cases of STI have occurred in both females and males ranging in age from 16 to 62 years. Many chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases have reported anonymous sexual encounters arranged through internet hook-ups and dating phone apps. As a result of the anonymous encounter, they may not be able to notify sex partners of exposure and risk further infection in the community.

Related: Sexually Transmitted Infections: Those common and those not so common, Part 1

TCHD encourages sexually active individuals to talk to their partner(s) about sexually transmitted infections before having sex; get tested for STIs if engaging in sexual behaviors; and get treatment right away if they test positive for an STI.

Confidential, free or low cost testing, support and further education can be found at the following website HERE