Posts Tagged ‘chlamydia’

STI Rates Rose In 2022

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Syphilis rates increased 26% in 2021, for a second year in a row, and the “Big Three” STIs (sexually transmitted infections) racked up a record 2.5 million reported cases among Americans. That was at a time when we were supposed to be “socially distancing” and quarantining. COVID-19 was one of several infections that had banner years in 2020 and 2021.

Of course, most STIs are not fatal, except for syphilis if left untreated. Getting and having an STI carries a truckload of shame and stigma, which fuels new infections because the infected patient is less likely to tell a sexual partner of their condition. Another factor in the not-as-bad column: STIs are treatable and curable—except for herpes.

One for the not-so-hot column, though: infection with one STI makes you more susceptible to others, including HIV, which is also potentially fatal if left unmedicated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, these are the 2021 statistics:
• Chlamydia: 1,628,397 cases – up 3%
• Gonorrhea: 696,764 cases – up 2.8%
• Syphilis: 171,074 cases – a 26% increase, for the highest number of cases in 75 years
• Overall (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis): 2.5 million cases

What is not reflected in these numbers: the Mpox (monkeypox) epidemic, which has exploded in the past two years. HVCS has a dedicated Mpox wellness coaching team ready to answer questions and help clients connect to vaccines.

You may be asking, why are STI rates rising? Condom usage is dropping, spurred by the greater use of PrEP to prevent HIV. More and more of our clients report that they use barrier protection less often since they’re taking PrEP pills. While safer from HIV, those who go condom-less risk exposing themselves to STIs.

Scientists also posit that the ongoing opioid and meth epidemics are leading to more HIV and Hepatitis C infections among people who share needles, and the spread of other STIs as user trade drugs for sex that is often unprotected.

Leandro Mena, the director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, was quoted by POLITICO: “Over two decades of level funding, when you account for inflation and population changes, have effectively decreased the buying power of public health dollars and resulted in the reduction of STI services at the local level. That reduction in screening, treatment and partner services likely contributed to these STI increases.”

April is National STI Awareness Month. We’re using this opportunity to call attention to our free STI testing services, available to anyone who doesn’t know their STI status. The best way to reverse the rise of STI rates is to increase knowledge of infection rates—knowledge really is power! To set up your appointment, visit our Testing Request page.

Project Reach Out Now Offering STD Screenings

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Project Reach Out vanAs of February 1, 2019, our Project Reach Out mobile harm reduction units will also be offering free screenings for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The PRO staff, who travel in vans to areas of high need throughout the Hudson Valley, work primarily with people who are homeless or in unstable housing, and help them access the services they need to reduce the harm of drug use and their risk for HIV, Hepatitis C and STDs.

“We’re eager to offer these expanded services to PRO clients,” said Jennifer Brathwaite, HVCS’ Director of Education and Prevention. “These are two more ways we can help people with really high levels of need access care. Getting a free STD test can be an important step in empowering someone to protect their health, especially since these two STDs can often be asymptomatic. This testing program helps not only our clients but reduces the overall amount of STDs in our community.”

Chlamydia and gonorrhea infection rates in New York State have increased every year since 2013. Infection rates among African-Americans are disproportionately high, making up 23% of chlamydia rates and 33% of gonorrhea cases in 2017. These statistics further support the need for expanded STD testing in the vulnerable neighborhoods where PRO typically offers services.

Click here to learn more about our Project Reach Out program.

HVCS Creates New STD Testing Position

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Get Tested!Hudson Valley Community Services has responded to the sharp increase in STD infection rates in our area by creating a new staff position dedicated to STD testing. For the first time in our history, we will be able to provide free sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing to anyone who needs it.

Previously we were funded only to provide STD testing to those at high risk or those were had a possible exposure.

“We want to empower everyone to take control of their sexual health,” said HVCS’ Education and Prevention Director, Jennifer Brathwaite. “Our new STD tester allows us to serve more people and connect them to the healthcare and social resources they need.”

We offer urine tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and a blood draw for syphilis, with results in two to seven days. For hepatitis C (and HIV), we perform a finger stick with results available within 20 minutes.

Two common reasons given for the recent rise in STD rates are the widespread use of dating apps, and the advent of PrEP (daily treatment to prevent HIV). Those on PrEP may decide not to use condoms as frequently. Condoms prevent some STDs but not all.

To find out more or to get tested, call Stephanie at (914) 785-8261.