Record high numbers of STDs locally, county report shows

MEDFORD, Ore.– As STDs are on a rise across the country, the situation is the same for Jackson County where county health reports show that several diseases reached record high numbers in 2017.

“As CDC reported, nationwide we’re at record levels,” said Tanya Phillips, a health promotion manager for Jackson County Health and Human Services.

The three STD’s – gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia have been spreading across the country and the number of cases has been growing.

“There’s definitely multiple factors that are influencing this,” said Phillips. “One of those influences are people are having sexual intercourse and they’re not using condoms.”

In a recent public health report, Jackson County Health and Human Services found a record high number for all three STDs from 2016 to 2017.

Syphilis which officials call, “the great imitator” for it’s ability to mimic symptoms of other STDs – making it harder to identify and treat, was at 28 cases. That was an increase by 55 percent.

Gonorrhea had 217 cases, up by 22.5 percent and chlamydia had 936 cases, up about 24 percent.

Along with the rise in these STDs, other risks come with it.

“We see an increase in those three, it does put individuals at risk for getting HIV as well,” said Phillips. “So there’s risk associated with those three STDs and HIV.”

Phillips says funding is a problem for local health departments across the country. But luckily, Jackson County is receiving two grants that will help with a variety of plans.

“Being able to do more outreach and education and being able to have staff to go and investigate that individual that tested positive for an STI and find who their partners are and make sure everyone is treated.”

Still officials say there’s a lot more to be done. One way – reducing the stigma associated with STDs.

“I think as a community as a whole, how do we reduce that stigma so that people feel empowered to talk about what their risks are,” said Phillips. “That they’re not fearful to go to the provider and get treated.”

Health officials say it’s important to receive regular check-ups and to keep in contact with your healthcare provider.

The Jackson County STD Clinic is also providing free testings for gonorrhea and chlamydia.

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