Douglas County and Nationwide Have Record STD Rates
OMAHA, Neb.- The Centers for Disease Control found that STD rates hit another high in 2019 and that Douglas County is above the national average.
Sexually transmitted diseases are at an all time high nationwide for the sixth consecutive year, according to the CDC. The new data shows that not only are STD rates on the rise, but there are serious gaps in communities experiencing this spike. In 2019, rates of STDs among blacks were five to eight times higher than those of whites. American Indians and other Pacific Islanders had three to five times the rates of whites, and the Latino population had one to two times the rates of whites.
“It’s sad, you know? I feel like we are not doing our job well in educating the community. Outreach is the first solution to help alleviate some of these issues,” said Dr Sami Zeineddine , who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology at CHI Santé.
Dr Zeineddine has seen higher rates of STDs in his clinic, a trend seen across the county.
“Douglas County has always had one of the highest rates of STDs in the country,” said Andi Curry Grubb, executive director of Planned Parenthood North Central States.
“So we’re not necessarily the worst, but it’s not great and I think part of it is that we have such an increase in the number of tests here,” said Leah Casanave, head of the Douglas County STD prevention and control.
Casanave says that thanks to the multiple efforts of the community, the county is testing at a much higher rate than the rest of the state, hence the higher numbers. However, the Douglas County STD clinic is not testing at all. The clinic has been closed for four months so staff can be used for the COVID-19 vaccination effort. It should not reopen until the end of the summer, when the majority of the population will have been vaccinated.
“I’m glad we have such a good relationship with our community partners because they kind of took over when we couldn’t,” said Casanave.
Other clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, took care of the extra appointments.
“In our Omaha clinic in particular, we’ve actually seen above average test numbers for about I would say the last nine months,” said Curry Grubb.
Health officials say they expect to see similar data in 2020 and beyond, despite the pandemic and clinic closures.
“Are we going to have another epidemic when we come back? I mean, we’ve basically gone from this one to the STDs,” Casanave said.
STD clinics open for appointments:
Charles Drew Health Center: (402) 451-3553, 2915, rue Grant, www.charlesdrew.com
Methodist Community Health Clinic: (402) 354-3198, 208 S. 26th Avenue; ** $ 25 co-payment
Free NOAH clinic: (402) 933-0737, 5620 avenue Ames; Hours: Mon and Fri from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sat 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Wednesday and Sunday)
One World Community Health Centers: Medical (402) 502-5832, Pharmacy (402) 502-5832; Several locations in the Omaha metropolitan area