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Health & Medicine

Tazewell County Saw Rise in Sexually Transmitted Infections In 2020

Between 2019 and 2020, there was an 88% increase in gonorrhea infections in Tazewell County.

Tazewell County saw a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in 2020.

The Tazewell County Health Department (TCHD) saw a rise specifically in gonorrhea infections, said epidemiologist Amanda Marcanio. Between 2019 and 2020, there was an 88% increase in gonorrhea infections in Tazewell County, she said.

Marcanio said the reason behind the increase is unclear. However, she said pushing individuals to get tested and having better communication on the importance of sexual health are important ways to halt the rising numbers.

“Getting tested leads to getting treatment, and yes the STI rates may go up if we see more testing,” she said. “But ultimately having more people tested will, in the long run, decrease STI rates.”

Marcanio also said the health department is working on encouraging expedited partner therapy to limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

“Basically just providing medication not only to the person who has shown up in the office and is positive, but also providing the medication for their partner or partners,” she said. “Because if their partner is not there, who's to know if they are going to show up and get tested as well, which can lead to more infections."

Marcanio said the health department had to pause testing services for a while due to the pandemic, adding the agency, along with several other health departments, is working to resume clinic and testing hours.

“As most people saw services really decrease for most things in 2020, just trying to get our services back up and increase access to testing services,” she said.

Marcanio said starting Tuesday STI testing will resume through the health department from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Tuesday.

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