Thomas Jefferson Health District Launches Sexual Health Testing Media Campaign
In response to increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections, the Thomas Jefferson Health District has launched a multi-media campaign that encourages people to get tested.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Officials are warning that the rates of sexually-transmitted diseases are up around central Virginia.
According to the Thomas Jefferson Health District, there was 67-percent increase of gonorrhea in 2017, compared to rates from the last several years. The report also says young adults under 30, as well as teenagers, have the highest rates for cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The Virginia Department of Health provided the following information:
- In TJHD, there was 13.1% increase in rates of chlamydia in 2017 compared to the 2013-2016 average annual rates.
- Highest rates of chlamydia in Virginia are among young adults ages 20-24, followed closely by teens ages 15-19.
- CDC National Data - Nationally, there were 1.7 million cases of chlamydia in 2017, which was a 22% increase from 2013.
- Chlamydia was the most common condition reported to the CDC in 2017.
- In TJHD, there was a 67.4% increase rates of gonorrhea in 2017 compared to the 2013-2016 average annual rates.
- Highest rates of gonorrhea in Virginia are among adults ages 20-24.
- CDC National Data - Nationally, there were 555,608 cases in 2017, which was a 67% increase from 2013.
Health professionals are urging community members to get tested to prevent further spread of the infections.
“It's incredibly easy to come in and get tested with the health department. Throughout all of the counties in this area, we have clinics set up especially for this so folks can give a call to your local health department to find out specific times and days when those clinics are available, but we do everything we can to work around your schedule and make it an easy process,” said Jason Elliott, Community Testing Coordinator.
Administrators with the health department say most insurance policies are accepted there, and there are a few rapid-result tests for HIV and hepatitis C that are available at no cost to the patient.
10/30/2018 Release from the Thomas Jefferson Health District:
(Charlottesville, Va.) – In response to increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) has launched a multi-media campaign that encourages people to get tested for STIs.
Campaign advertisements will run through December 1, 2018 (World AIDS Day) and will include social media, digital, radio, and print advertisements throughout TJHD, which includes the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson Counties.
2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the United States is experiencing steep, sustained increases in STIs. From 2013 to 2017, the number of syphilis cases increased by 76% and the number of gonorrhea cases increased by 67%. Additionally, there was a 154% increase in congenital syphilis cases (when a mother passes syphilis to her baby during pregnancy).
“If you have ever been sexually active, you could be at risk for having an STI and not even know it,” said Jason Elliott, TJHD Community Testing Coordinator. “Most STIs don’t show any signs or symptoms, so the best way for people to know their status is to get tested.”
Along with the media campaign, TJHD successfully competed for and received grant funding to address the increasing rates of STIs by:
- Expanding sexual health services to offer evening and weekend STI testing clinics, in addition to weekly sexual health clinics. These clinics provide testing and treatment for common infections such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
- Offering free rapid HIV and Hepatitis C testing in community settings through the #TJstatus program.
- Expanding the Condom Distribution Program which provides free safer sex items, like condoms and lube, and education to individuals and organizations throughout the district.
For clinic hours or more information about STI testing and prevention, people can call their local health department or visit www.TJHD.org.
Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Dept.
Address: 1138 Rose Hill Drive, Charlottesville, Va.
Fluvanna County Health Department
Address: 132 Main St., Route 15, Palmyra, Va.
Greene County Health Department
Address: 50 Stanard Street, Stanardsville, Va.
Louisa County Health Department
Address: 540 Industrial Drive, Louisa, Va.
Nelson County Health Department
Address: 4038 Thomas Nelson Highway, Arrington, Va.