A common trend emerging at the start of this year is increased reports of some STDs around the country. Bacterial infections are on the rise nationwide. Erie County, Pennsylvania has reported a rise in cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea between 2016 and 2017. While the Erie County Department of Health has reported a decrease of syphilis, it has become apparent that some of the most common STDs are becoming even more common in Pennsylvania.
In 2017, there were a total of 1,371 cases of chlamydia reported in Erie County. There were 461 cases of gonorrhea reported in the same time span. This is the highest number of cases reported in the county since 2012 and a dramatic 38% increase since the previous year. Local area health officials are struggling to identify possible causes for the steady rise in STDs. The lack of resources for sexual health in the county is often cited as the main factor. The health department is not currently capable of notifying sexual partners and is calling upon patient’s to do so in order to help stop the spread of these infections.
“Rising STD cases are always a concern and a great challenge because these are lifestyle diseases,” said Charlotte Berringer, R.N., director of community health for the health department. “What people need to do is get a mindset. Who might have I gotten this STD from and who might have I given it to? Then they should give those partners a heads up and suggest they get tested.”
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both curable with antibiotics. It is important to treat these infections early to prevent serious complications and to limit the spreading to partners. Untreated infections can lead to reproductive health issues and infertility. Untreated syphilis can eventually be fatal.
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to chlamydia, gonorrhea or any other STD, you should have STD testing performed. Since STD infections will not always show signs or symptoms, testing can often be the only way to know you have an infection. Only after you have been diagnosed with an infection can you begin to treat it. There are many options for STD testing in Pennsylvania that are both affordable and convenient.