Increase in STI cases reported in Eau Claire County

Published: Aug. 3, 2018 at 4:10 PM CDT
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The Eau Claire City-County Health Department said this year reports of sexually-transmitted diseases, also referred to as STI’s have already exceeded the total number for all of 2017.

The department says there have already been 75 reported cases of gonorrhea that's compared with 64 cases last year.

Public health nurse Abby Heinz said, “In the first half of this year we've had 50 more cases than we had of last year of gonorrhea and the same with syphilis; we're seeing a lot more syphilis too.”

The department said the less common STD, syphilis, has already been reported eleven times which is the same as last year.

However it's unknown whether the rise is from an increase in the number of people getting tested or if there's an actual rise in cases.

“There's really no way at this point to pinpoint why there's an increase in STI's,” said Heinz. “It could be because a lot of people are getting tested. We have statewide and locally done a lot more with the Get Yourself Tested campaign. So doing more outreach and making it more accessible for folks and I think that could be another reason why we're seeing an increase.”

The health department said ways people can protect themselves from diseases is of course abstaining, using condoms ,or if they are sexually active by getting checkups regularly.

“There are a lot of different symptoms one could experience. Such as discharge, vaginal discharge, discharge from the penis, there could be itching just generally not feeling great but a lot of times there are no symptoms with these STI's. So people have no idea that they have an STI and the only way to know is to get tested,” explained Heinz.

The department said it offers testing at no cost or low cost to patients so there should be no reason to not get tested.

Heinz added, “We encourage everyone if they have new partner or just getting into a relationship it's a good thing to do.”

The department said if gonorrhea or chlamydia is left untreated in women they can cause long-term effects like infertility.