MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Health Department announced Wednesday that sexually transmitted infections are on the rise; with gonorrhea rates of particular concern.
Gonorrhea is a common STI that can infect both males and females. It is a very common bacterial infection and it can be treated with the right medication.
From January through April 2022, there were 96 reported cases of gonorrhea in Chautauqua County. This figure is 2.4 times greater than the 40 infections reported in 2019, and numbers grew progressively higher with each year.
If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause very serious and permanent health problems. If you are pregnant and have gonorrhea, officials say the disease can be passed to your baby during delivery.
“Because of COVID restrictions in 2020 and 2021, STI screening numbers were lower than normal,” said Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler in a statement. “Despite limited access to screening and testing resources, gonorrhea numbers climbed in 2020 and 2021. Experts suspect that there were and are many more cases in the community that have gone undetected. Our department recommends that sexually active community members seek out testing and treatment for STIs.”
During the first four months of this year, gonorrhea was most common among people ages 20 to 39 (68 percent of all reported infections), and cases reported were 58 percent female and 68 percent male.
During the same timeframe, chlamydia infections reported were most common among 15 to 29-year-olds (74 percent of total infections), and were 68 percent female and 32 percent male.
County leaders say those who need to get tested can visit the Chautauqua Center, which has locations in Jamestown and Dunkirk, or Evergreen Health in Jamestown.