EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Data from the El Paso Public Health Department shows an increase of several sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
From January to August 2021, the most up-to-date data, there are 2,854 reported cases of chlamydia, that’s up by 146 at the same time in 2020. For gonorrhea, 878 cases, up 261 and there are 263 syphilis cases, up 133 from 2020.
“In 2019, we saw an increase from 2018 and in 2020 we saw a slight decrease,” El Paso Public Health Director Angela Mora said. “One of the primary reasons, because individuals were not going to their medical providers to be tested because of the pandemic,” Mora said.
Mora added there was a significant increase in pregnant women testing positive for syphilis.
“By law, physicians are supposed to test for STIs during first and last trimesters so if physicians miss it they have to ask the doctor to provide the STD screening,” Mora said.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, preliminary data shows nearly 2,100 cases of newborn syphilis in 2020.
“We learned during the pandemic we can prevent communicable disease, all we have to do is practice preventative measures,” Mora said.
Miranda Aguirre, a health center manager with Planned Parenthood El Paso, said they have seen more people getting tested recently.
“Nationally, we’ve seen an increase, it’s hard to tell why but of course, we highly recommend getting tested, with every new partner, once a year, use condoms,” Aguirre said. “STIs are on the rise but here at Planned Parenthood we have the funding to get people tested and treated.”