An alarming trend is developing under the radar: All too often, people make love — and then make a trip to the clinic.
And that’s getting more common.
The latest statistics indicate Carter County is above the state average in cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea. Countywide, in 2014, there were 269 cases of chlamydia — a rate of 551 cases per 100,000 residents. The state rate is 532.6. There also were 101 cases of gonorrhea with a rate of 206.9 per 100,000, well above the state rate of 158.2 for every 100,000 residents. Carter County was the only county in The Ardmoreite area with numbers above the state average.
Carter County Health Department Executive Director Mendy Spohn said other alarming statistics indicate syphilis also is resurgent.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report all sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise nationally,” Spohn said.
All in all, the CDC reported that cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have increased for the first time since 2006.
Spohn said the data indicate young adults continue to be most at risk, although age groups from 10 years old to 65 are impacted. The CDC reported STDs continue to affect young people — particularly women — most severely, but increasing rates among men contributed to the overall increases in 2014.
“Sexually transmitted diseases are not the only reason to come to the health department,” she said. “It is one of our primary focuses, it’s part of our statutory responsibility. It’s an essential function of public health to investigate the spread of communicable diseases.”
The health department is diligent in tracking outbreaks, including a spike in syphilis cases in Lawton last year.
“We have seen pockets of syphilis rising up in certain areas of the population,” Spohn said. “Many of the things we test for do not have immediate signs.”
The health department offers free testing. Counseling is also also included in its services
“It’s a safe environment to come in and discuss issues,” Spohn said.
Health department coordinating nurse Amber Marr said an appointment is required to be tested for an STD. Urine is tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Blood is tested for syphilis and HIV.
“We do not use swab tests, if that is keeping people from being tested,” Marr said.
Testing can also uncover other health concerns outside of STDs.
Marr said the department provides expansive counseling, including discussions on how the STD was obtained.
 “The information is 100 percent confidential and we encourage clients to contact their partners,” Marr said.
If a client is not comfortable contacting a partner, she said, the clinic can make a call and doesn’t identify the infected party.
“We tell them they may have come in contact with a STD,” Marr said.
Still, it is important that sexual partners communicate.
“It is important to practice safe sex and have these discussions with your partners,” Spohn said.
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