STIs in the Blue Ridge Health District are rising

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:20 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As COVID-19 cases decrease, there are other diseases the Blue Ridge Health District is keeping an eye on like sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

“We’re seeing an increase in STIs across the board,” Community testing coordinator for the BRHD Norman Dorise said. “We want to tell people who are sexually active that it is important to get tested and it’s not something that people should be ashamed of or feel bad about.”

From 2009 to 2021, early syphilis increased in Virginia by 144%. It was even worse over that same period in our part of the state.

“We’ve seen a 243% increase in syphilis in just our region here,” Dorise said.

In those same dozen years statewide, chlamydia is up 18% and gonorrhea is up 85%.

“STIs can have no signs or symptoms, meaning that you can carry them and not know that you have them at all,” Dorise said. “Each routine STI testing is really important, just to check to see if you have them to get them treated if you do, because they can all lead to further complications if left untreated.”

Dorise says the biggest way you can avoid STIs is through protection.

“All of these diseases, they don’t discriminate. That’s as long as you’re sexually active and at risk by not using condoms or not having important conversations with your partner about their sexual history and about their testing. Then you put yourself at risk for getting these diseases,” Dorise said.

The recommendation for people who are sexually active is to get tested every three to six months.

“Routine STI testing is something that can really protect you and your community,” Dorise said. “Sexual health testing isn’t something that anyone should be ashamed of or should be afraid to do. It’s something that’s completely normal that we all at some point must get done if we want to protect ourselves.”

On March 1st and March 15th, the BRHD is offering free STI testing at the health department on Rose Hill Drive from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m. No appointment is needed.

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