JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The number of teenagers and young adults in Jefferson County contracting sexually transmitted infections is going up, health officials say. On Wednesday, Jefferson County Public Health noted a 23.4% increase in chlamydia rates, 22.4% increase in gonorrhea rates and 41% increase in syphilis rates (rates per 100,000 people) from 2019 to 2020.
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They say they also recorded a cluster of HIV cases among 15-19 year olds from 2020 to 2021. An exact number was not released, however JCPH states no additional cases have been reported.
“What many people don’t realize about sexually transmitted infections is that they can be transmitted through any kind of intercourse, and even more importantly, sometimes, you can have an STI and not know it. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. That way, you can protect yourself and your sexual partner or partners,” said Kelly Conroy, Associate Director of Clinical Health Services at JCPH.READ MORE: Community Gathers To Light First Candle On 9-Foot Menorah In Arvada
JCPH says the number of STI’s, like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, have been going up in the county for the last five years.
County health officials offer the following prevention steps:
- If you are at risk, get tested. It’s easy and convenient, and you can do it at home via mail-in kits. To learn more about these options, visit https://cdphe.mybinxhealth.com or call our clinic 303-239-7078.
- JCPH offers low- to no-cost testing at its office 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood. All test results are confidential, and no parental consent is needed.
- Ensure correct use of protective barriers, such as condoms, internal condoms or dental dams, with every sex partner.
- Use personal lubrication to protect the tissue from abrasions and microtears, which increase the transmission of several STIs
- Reducing your number of sexual partners may decrease STIs, and no matter how many partners a person has, there are many tools they use for prevention.
- Feel empowered to ask your partner(s) to get tested. You can go get tested together, too, to help ease any concerns.
- Testing services are confidential. Your provider can help you find ways to navigate your next steps in a safe and discreet manner.
- If you are concerned about your risk of getting HIV, talk to your healthcare provider about PrEP, a medication that, when taken correctly, significantly reduces the risk of contracting the virus.
JCPH further points to a 2019 campaign, Sex Facts Jeffco, which focused on young women who are uninsured, use Medicaid or have low income. They say the campaign uses research to help address diverse audiences more efficiently.