The Pennsylvania Department of Health saw an increased number of reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia, in 2007. However, preliminary reports from 2008 within Allegheny County show either decreasing or more slowly increasing rates in these diseases.
County Health Department Spokesperson Guillermo Cole says it's extremely important that sexually active people get checked, even if they are not showing signs of symptoms. He says because gonorrhea and chlamydia are often asymptomatic, many people may have it and not know it. Cole says the efforts to contain and control the spread of syphilis is paying off, with a number of 36 reported cases in 2008, down from the record high of 71 reported cases in Allegheny County in 2006. He says chlamydia cases rose by 5 percent from 2007 to 2008, a much smaller jump than 20 percent in 2006-2007 reports. Also, preliminary numbers show that gonorrhea cases may have leveled off in 2008, but it is too soon to tell because final numbers are not yet in.
Cole says two-thirds of cases are in teens and young adults, from ages 18 to 24. It's important to note that multiple sexual partners and/or unprotected sex increases risk of disease. The County STD Clinic located in Oakland and is open Monday through Friday. They take walk-in appointments, stay confidential, and everything is free of charge. For more information, call (412) 687-ACHD.