With STDs Rising, Health Officials Brag About Testing, Treatment Local News

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The rate of sexually transmitted diseases has reached a new national high for the sixth consecutive year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kelly Kibirige, community health services coordinator for St. Joseph’s health department, said it was important to stop the stigma of STDs and treat infections like any other.

“In 2019, 61% of new infections were in youth and young adults aged 15 to 24,” Kibirige said. “It is really important that all health care providers work together to solve the problem.”

Nationwide, rates of sexually transmitted diseases have increased since 2015. Chlamydia has increased by 19%, gonorrhea by 56% and syphilis by 74% since this year.

Kibirige said it’s best to catch infections early, especially bacterial infections which can be treated with antibiotics. People need to talk about treatment, educate themselves and make sure they get tested, she said.

“Many bacterial infections are treated every day. Strep throat is a bacterial infection and if you tell your providers about your symptoms, you will be tested and treated, ”she said.

The Westside Clinic in the Welfare Board office located in Patee Market provides health care and services to people with STDs and other illnesses, even if they are uninsured.

“I don’t think there’s an infection that we don’t want to know we have and be treated as soon as possible,” Kibirige said. “For hepatitis C, there are people who are now clearing the virus, and with HIV the drugs have improved so much.”

The St. Joseph Health Unit offers testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV from 8 am to 5 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.



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