Modified: March 30, 2017 12:11pm
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date: March 30, 2017
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Erie County Department of Health Offers STD Testing
Confidential Service Provided at 608 William Street (Buffalo) Clinic
ERIE COUNTY, NY— April is National Sexually Transmitted Disease (“STD”) Awareness Month. Erie County continues to have a high number of STDs, particularly syphilis cases. Once nearing elimination, national data find that syphilis is now thriving. Reported cases and rates for primary and secondary syphilis are at a 20-year high. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (“MSM”) face continuously high and rising rates of the disease. Rates are also on the rise among women, multiple age groups, all regions, and among almost every race/ethnicity.
“Syphilis's resurgence highlights its ability to affect many communities at anytime and anywhere. We cannot accept this as the new normal, and together, we can and must reverse these increases,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Commissioner, Erie County Department of Health.
“Despite the fact STDs remain a serious public health threat, the topic is rarely discussed in home or school settings,” Burstein added. “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) data indicate there is a hidden STD epidemic in the United States. The CDC estimates 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (“STI”) occur each year, adding nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs”.
The bottom line is this: if you’re having sex, you can get syphilis. This resurgence highlights its ability to affect many communities at anytime and anywhere. Infection rates have spiked in all regions of the country, and across almost every race/ethnicity, and varying age groups from the oldest Gen Z’ers to younger baby boomers—and even to infants.
Syphilis rates have risen among women 27% from 2014-2015, which has led to a surge in the number of babies born with syphilis (congenital syphilis). Men, and especially gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (“MSM”) remain hardest-hit by syphilis. Data suggest that approximately half of MSM infected with syphilis are also living with HIV.
The Erie County PrEP Prescribing Clinic is also located at the Jesse Nash Center. Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (“PrEP”) is a once a day pill prescribed to prevent HIV infection. This Clinic also offers screening & treatment for HIV, STD infections & Hepatitis C; vaccinations for Hepatitis A & B and HPV, and referrals for HIV treatment, mental health, housing and medical insurance. For an appointment or further information, call the PrEP Clinic at 716-858-7687 or the PrEP Navigator 716-858-7942.
Although STDs affect individuals of all ages, STDs take a particularly heavy toll on young people. CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 years old make up 25% of the sexually active population, but account for 50% of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur each year.
There are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. STD screening and early diagnoses are essential in preventing transmission and the long term health consequences. Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies. Safe, effective vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B and some types of the human papillomavirus (“HPV”) that cause disease and cancer. And for all individuals who are sexually active – particularly young people – STI screening and prompt treatment (if infected) are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others.
For confidential STD screening tests or further information, contact the ECDOH STD Clinic at 716-858-7687.
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