The rates of STDs are rising across the country at an alarming rate according to the Centers for Disease Contro and Prevention. MPB’s Alexandra Watts reports on the rate of gonorrhea in Mississippi.
Gonorrhea rates are increasing nationwide, and Mississippi has the highest rate of cases. There are almost 327 gonorrhea cases per 100,000 people in the state.
State health officer Doctor Thomas Dobbs says rates have been high for awhile in the state.
“Certainly, we’ve always had high rates of STDs. It’s gotten worse recently. This is not just a Mississippi thing, it’s a national trend unfortunately," he said.
According to the CDC, Gonorrhea is treatable. If left untreated, the disease can spread and cause infertility and an increased chance of getting or giving HIV.
Doctor Dobbs says people depend on county health departments for testing and treating of STDs and that changes in hours and accessibility have an effect on the number of cases.
“People really depend on the county health departments as a location, not only for testing and screening, but also for treatment. And we have cut back on days of operations and limited some of the geographic spread of our services, and so, we are going to aggressively re-invest ourselves in covering the gap services that is not really being met in the private medical community.”
Doctor Dobbs said ates among African Americans are almost ten times higher than Caucasians. Mississippi had almost 10,000 cases, but almost 600,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported nationwide in 2018.
The state offers free testing at county health clinics. Some people may not have symptoms of an STD, but still have one that can be passed on to their partners.
Because of this, the CDC recommends talking with your provider about getting tested.