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Sexual infection cases rising in Jeffco

The public health department said gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia rates are up, especially among teens and young adults.
Credit: CDC

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are rising in Jefferson County.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) said overall STI cases were going up in the county, especially among teens and young adults. They urged people to take precautions to protect themselves.

JCPH said from 2019 to 2020:

  • chlamydia rates increased 23.4%
  • gonorrhea rates went up 22.4%
  • syphilis rates jumped 41%

The highest rates of new STI cases were found in young adults, JCPH said. JCPH said it had also identified a cluster of HIV cases within 15 to 19-year-olds in 2020 and 2021.

“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. “The earlier an STI is detected, the better the long-term outcomes are. Plus, additional cases and spread of STIs are easily prevented if people are tested early and often.”  

JCPH said it is relaunching its 2019 campaign titled Sex Facts Jeffco.

“The more you know about your own body, the more empowered you can be to make decisions for your health, your relationships and your lifestyle. JCPH is here to help you with any information you need to make those choices,” Conroy said.

The health department also sent out prevention steps people can take to protect themselves from STIs:

  • 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 cdphe.mybinxhealth.com or call the clinic at 303-239-7078. 
  • You can get tested in person at JCPH's office at 645 Parfet St. in Lakewood. All test results are confidential, and no parental consent is needed. 
  • Many people have delayed routine screenings, such as STI screenings, because of COVID-19 concerns and a lack of availability. However, JCPH is fully open and has STI services readily available at their clinic. 
  • 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. 

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