PLATTSBURGH — Education is a key in reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections throughout the community.
Awareness of infections through testing is also paramount in the region’s fight against HIV, chlamydia, syphilis and others.
Representatives from several local agencies have combined their efforts to increase awareness of the infections to battle increased numbers of cases in Clinton County.
Those agencies include the Clinton County Health Department; the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York; Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York; CVPH Medical Center; and the two local colleges, Plattsburgh State and Clinton Community College.
“We decided to work as a group four or five years ago to make sure we are offering services (for testing and treating sexually transmitted infections) throughout the week,” said Darwyna Facteau, supervising public-health nurse for the Clinton County Health Department.
“As a group, we meet quarterly to discuss what is going on in the community,” she added. “As a Health Department, we see all of the stats (of infections reported by health-care providers), and we can talk (as a group) about what strategies are best (for attacking outbreaks).”
Most sexually transmitted infections — often identified as sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs — have been increasing locally, statewide and across the nation.
In Clinton County, there were 183 cases of chlamydia in 2010, and that number jumped to 282 cases in 2012.
Chlamydia is a bacterium that can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eyes or throat. It can cause bladder infections and serious pelvic inflammatory disease. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection in America.
Only one case of syphilis was recorded in 2010, but 12 cased were identified in 2011, though that number dropped to seven in 2012. Cases of gonorrhea more than doubled from 13 cases in 2010 to 28 cases in 2012.
According to the New York State HIV/AIDS Surveillance Annual Report, 63 people in Clinton County were being treated for HIV/AIDs in 2007. By 2010, that number had increased to 69 patients, with one new HIV diagnosis recorded that year.