FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – So far there have been 674 cases of Gonorrhea already this year in Allen County. That’s up from 487 in all of 2016. The number of HIV cases is also up from last year from 22 to 27.
Quarterly data from the Allen County Health Department is causing a lot of concern. “We’ve seen just a disproportionate number of Gonorrhea cases. Like I said, we’d maybe have 300-350. We’re already in 600,” Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner, said.
The number of cases to date is significantly higher than the total number of cases last year. Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said the rise in Gonorrhea is especially concerning because the disease often leads to HIV. “What they’ll typically say is communities will experience an increase in Gonorrhea and Syphilis followed then in a year or two by HIV.”
Chlamydia cases are also also up. Although more common and easier to treat, those cases are already approaching 2,000. There have been 1,657 so far in 2017 compared to 1,613 last year. McMahan said they’re looking into what exactly could be the reasoning behind the jump, but two factors quickly come to mind. “Obviously the big increase in drug uses with the whole opioid and other drug crises were talking about and sadly prostitution usually goes hand in hand with that.”
Indiana, Allen County specifically, usually has high annual STD rates. McMahan said that could be because of the number of clinics offered here. Therefore more reports of cases- compared to areas with fewer options for people to get checked out. Getting checked out is what she can’t stress enough. “You’ve got to think about these things. You have to be intentional with your body and this is just another example of that.”
Local clinics and healthcare providers have all been notified off this report. McMahan said they’ve all been encouraged to bring up the topic of STD screening as it’s not always something patients are eager to talk about. Most cases tend to be in ages 35 and younger.