Cities such as Kansas City and St. Louis were once known as having the largest syphilis populations, but a recent report from Kaiser Health News shows that the trend has reversed. Today, rural Missouri counties are seeing a high number of syphilis cases, which is quadrupling the number of people with the disease.
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has charted the
change in the last six years. In 2014, there were 180 cases outside
the St. Louis and Kansas City regions, 410 less than what the cities
were seeing. In 2018, there were close to 850 syphilis cases in the
non-metro locations, which was just 194 less than both K.C. and St.
reasons are attributed to the increase
communities are made up of people who know each other, and an
infected person may be concerned that word will get out about their
top of that, funding is another issue for the rising numbers.
Syphilis is treatable and can be cured. However, there’s been a
lack of federal funding for STD prevention even with the rising
to Craig Highfill, who works with the prevention department of the
Bureau of HIV, STD and Hepatitis, Missouri’s funding from the CDC
was cut by $354,000. He said the restrictions imposed by the state
legislature about the money for Planned Parenthood means some STD
treatments are not reimbursable.
reason for the rise in STDs is digital media such as social media and
dating apps, which is making it more difficult to contain STDs. This
is very true for people who are diagnosed with syphilis. The ability
to trace partners is harder than ever.
Health organizations are looking for ways to get the younger audience’s attention. One way that’s been pondered was educational ads on apps such as Grindr.
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Dr. Sekina Bello with Pathfinder International Nigeria (NGO) has suggested women use female condoms to help prevent the spread of STDs and family planning. According to Bello, the female condom is the only option women have in family planning and STD protection.
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