BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW — The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) announced it has seen an increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the county and reminds residents STIs are treatable.
ECDOH said gonorrhea cases increased 56% from 2019 to 2020 although reported chlamydia cases fell 9% from 2019 to 2020. According to ECDOH, chlamydia presents fewer symptoms than gonorrhea which may account for fewer people tested. With 24% of all chlamydia cases and 32% of all gonorrhea cases, the 14215 and 14211 ZIP codes had the greatest total number of reported gonorrhea and chlamydia cases in 2021.
According to ECDOH, confirmed syphilis (all stages) cases doubled in Erie County from 2020 to 2021. Cases were primarily male (78%), between 20-39 years of age (67%), and resided in the city of Buffalo (78%).
In response, ECDOH is providing information about STI testing and treatment and expanding its EPT – Every Partner Treated – program. ECDOH said the EPT program provides prescription treatment to the partners of individuals who have been diagnosed with an STI without having to be seen by a medical professional.
“Sexual health is an important part of overall health, and our department’s Sexual Health Clinic is here to support that aspect of personal health. Often, sexual partners of people infected with STIs are also infected and unaware because they do not have symptoms. Treating the partners of people infected with STIs will improve the partners’ health and prevent reinfection of the person just treated. To expand access to this treatment, we created a new phone line – (716) 858-4EPT. This number and associated web site (www.erie.gov/EPT) are specifically for people who have been exposed to an STI. After screening by one of our public health nurses, they can receive fast and free treatment, either through the mail or for pickup from our clinic at 608 William Street. Treatment for all partners is an important way to reduce the risks of reinfection."
ECDOH said the Erie County Sexual Health Clinic at 608 William Street offers testing, treatment and education. The clinic is open on weekdays and is available for anyone 12 years of age and older. STI testing is confidential, and no one is denied testing or treatment based on the ability to pay. Call (716) 858-7687 for information or call (716) 858-4EPT to access EPT.