WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Sexually transmitted diseases have spiked across the nation.
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that sexually transmitted diseases surged during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and congenital syphilis surpassed 2019 levels.
The CDC said that reported cases of gonorrhea and primary and secondary syphilis were up 10% and 7%, respectively. Syphilis among newborns, known as congenital syphilis was up nearly 15% from 2016 and 235% from 2016, the CDC confirmed.
However, Jefferson County has not been impacted by this spike, according to Jefferson County Public Health.
“Our gonorrhea cases actually went down between 2020 and 2021,” Public Health Educator Lisa Lagos said. “Chlamydia cases really didn’t change at all. Our syphilis cases didn’t change either.”
Lagos confirmed that there are no cases of congenital syphilis in Jefferson County.
Public Health has credited the amount of testing in the County to the low case rate, as testing can catch infections before they are spread. Lagos expressed that this is why people should voluntarily be STD tested.
“We want people to know that STI testing is not really routine,” she said. “So if you’re going for your yearly physical, you’re probably not getting those tests done. So if it’s something that you’re concerned about, you definitely want to voice that to your provider and make sure that those tests are being done.”
Jefferson County Public Health is also encouraging patients to protect themselves if they are sexually active.
“Definitely condom use is very, very important,” Lagos emphasized. “When we say condom use, it’s proper condom use from start to finish.”
No-cost STD testing is available through Jefferson County Public Health Service every Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.