As the state of Michigan contends with the worst-in-the-nation, COVID-19 outbreak, the focus will also be set on sexually transmitted diseases. The week of April 11-17th is Sexually Transmitted Infections Awareness Week in Michigan.  In a release on Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services(MDHHS) reports that since 2010:

  • Gonorrhea has increased an average of 4% per year.
  • Primary and secondary syphilis have increased an average of 10% per year.
  • Chlamydia is the most reported infection with 50,374 cases in 2019. The average increase per year is approximately 1%.

MDDHS is looking to raise awareness about prevention strategies for STI’s, the benefits of STI testing, early diagnosis and treatment.

MDDHS is reporting a recent increase in the number of syphilis cases. Women who have untreated syphilis and become pregnant risk transmitting the virus to their baby during pregnancy. Congenital syphilis can lead to serious complications for infants, possibly leading to death. Over the last year, cases of congenital syphilis have increased at an alarming rate.

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For couples in Michigan, clinicians have the option to use a treatment  method called Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) in select cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. EPT helps individuals avoid reinfection by allowing the provider the option to prescribe antibiotics for sex partners of infected patients without examining them. While treating sex partners likely reduces the overall spread of STIs, it is especially effective in preventing sex partners from reinfecting each other.

Understanding risk, getting regularly tested, talking about testing with partners, consistently and correctly using condoms, reducing the number of partners, getting prompt treatment for STIs, and abstaining from sex are all effective prevention strategies.

More information and resources about STI’s are available on the CDC website. Data, resources, and technical assistance for Michigan’s STI program is available at Michigan.gov/HIVSTI.

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