Greenville, N.C. (WNCT)- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016 — the highest number ever.
The state of North Carolina ranked among the top 10 in all three diseases.
“We’ve got really high rates of chlamydia, particularly second in the state and then also gonorrhea cases we’re pretty high there,” said John Morrow, Pitt County public health director. “So nothing to brag about here in Pitt County with those rates.”
Last year, the reported number of gonorrhea cases in the state rose by more than 2,000 compared to 2015. The number of chlamydia cases diagnosed in North Carolina jumped by 4,000 with the highest rates among women ages 20 to 24 years old.
“The best thing to do is talk about it and just spread awareness,” said Samantha Reid, an ECU student, “but I still think people are going to do what they want. in the moment I don’t think people really think about it.”
While the number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases rose significantly, the cases of syphilis remained at a steady number of nearly 1,900 cases.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human services has been working with local health departments and community organizations on STD prevention efforts.
“One of the things we took action on with the help of our county commissioners this year was to add a health education position to our staff here at the Pitt County Health Department,” said Morrow. “They will actually go into the community and help spread this information out to those at risk.”
While all three of these STDs can be cured with antibiotics, if left undiagnosed and untreated, they can have serious health consequences, including infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased risk for HIV transmission.