Guam, U.S. See Rise In Common 3 STDs

Guam, U.S. See Rise In Common 3 STDs

The U.S. and its territory – Guam – have seen a rise in the three most common sexually transmitted diseases.

Information from the Department of Public Health and Social Services noted that, in 2017, Guam had over 1,100 chlamydia cases. This makes it the fifth in the nation for the STD. While syphilis and gonorrhea cases were not as high as the mainland, medical officials still saw an increase in the numbers.

Public Health’s STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Program Acting Supervisor Vince Aguon said there’s been a 100 percent increase in both syphilis and gonorrhea cases. Aguon said the rise is following the mainland’s trend. However, he said Guam recently implemented an electronic reporting system, connecting his office to providers and labs on islands.

He said his agency is relying on clinics to submit reports. He said when they conduct a test, they can flag it for the agency to see what the results are.

According to Public Health, the small Pacific island experienced the following:

  • 934 chlamydia cases in 2016
  • 133 gonorrhea cases in 2016 (202 cases in 2017)
  • 13 syphilis cases in 2016 (21 cases in 2017)

Public Health shared this information to increase awareness during STD Awareness Month, asking residents to practice safe sex, get tested and get treatment if the results are positive.

Aguon said the agency can test individuals and get the results back to them quickly. The idea, he said, is to eliminate the testing barriers and help people feel more comfortable to attain the treatment they have to have.

The common three can easily be cured with the right drugs, but too many cases are not diagnosed and not treated, which leads to even more health problems such as ectopic pregnancy, infertility, infant stillbirths and increased chances for HIV.

The agency, in conjunction with the nationwide campaign, is holding an array of activities to generate awareness. Agency health professionals are also going to local school, University of Guam and Guam Community College to share the information.

  • It’s important people talk to each other about sex and STDs.
  • If a couple decides to get intimate, they should get tested even if they have no symptoms.
  • If positive for STDs, people are encouraged to work with their doctor to identify what the right treatment they need. If a person test positives for an STD that is not curable, they can still be treated.
  • If a person is positive for STDs, they also need to be tested for HIV, as there is an increase in HIV transmission with a positive STDs.
Mark Heinrich
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