Manatee County cases of sexually transmitted chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have stayed roughly constant from 2014 to 2015, but the rest of the nation hasn’t fared as well.
The rate of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, has hit record highs in the United States, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.
Nationwide, chlamydia cases rose 6 percent from 2014 to 2015, with more than 1.5 million cases reported in 2015, according to the CDC.
Gonorrhea cases rose 13 percent with roughly 400,000 cases across the nation.
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Syphilis jumped 19 percent with roughly 24,000 cases, the CDC reported.
But in Manatee, chlamydia rose just slightly from 1,442 to 1,480 cases, said Thomas Iovino, a spokesman with Florida Department of Health in Manatee County.
Gonorrhea cases in Manatee actually dropped from 2014 to 2015, 458 cases to 436 cases, Iovino said.
Syphilis cases in Manatee did spike as they did nationally, from six confirmed cases in 2014 to 32 confirmed cases in 2015, Iovino said.
“But that’s still a small number,” Iovino said.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both common bacterial infections that currently can be cured by antibiotics, Iovino said. Syphilis, also a bacteria but rarer, is also curable with antibiotics, he added.
The fact that Manatee’s numbers are not soaring doesn’t mean the Florida Department of Health in Manatee is not concerned, Iovino said.
“The numbers tell us that transmission is still out there,” Iovino said. “What we want to do is concentrate on educating people about safe sex and also about the benefits of couples being tested to see if they are clear and then being monogamous.”
The CDC report indicates that STDs pose the greatest risk for gay and bisexual men and young people. Manatee does not have statistics on the sexual orientation of those who test positive for STDs, Iovino said.
“We don’t collect that data,” Iovino said.
Iovino said the Florida Department of Health in Manatee will work with people who come in and test positive for one of the sexually transmitted diseases to help them identify their sexual partners.
“That way we can notify the partners and tell them they have been in contact with someone who has found to have a sexually transmitted disease and they should come in and be tested,” Iovino said. “What we are trying to do is nip it in the bud.”
The cost for the basic gonorrhea and chlamydia test at the health department is $48, Iovino said. The syphilis test can cost between $25 to $100, based on the strain of bacteria which is being tested for, Iovino added.
“The clinical staff will help determine which test is most appropriate for the situation based on the sexual history of the individual and symptoms which are presented,” Iovino said.
Health department appointments are encouraged to ensure the shortest wait possible, Iovino said. Information or appointments: 941-748-0747, ext. 1456.