You may have seen that April was STI Awareness Month [external link], and this year, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) emphasized the importance of prevention and testing efforts to help curb this increase. Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) are so stigmatized in our society that we don’t talk about them, but in reality, STIs are common and 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has one [external link]. Breaking down stigma is important, because many STIs are dangerous if left untreated, and the only way to know if you have an STI before symptoms develop is to get tested.
Jefferson County has historically had lower syphilis rates compared to Colorado overall, however rates have increased four-fold since 2017, from 8.7 per 100,000 residents to 37.9 per 100,000 in 2022. From 2021 to 2022 alone, case rates increased over 77% in Jefferson County, driven by a sharp increase in diagnoses among those aged 30-39. Rates of STIs like syphilis have been rising steadily since the COVID-19 pandemic, largely attributed to reduced access to and use of health care facilities and testing.
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI, and sometimes, they do not show symptoms. JCPH recommends all people get tested at least annually, and more frequently if there is any risk of new exposure. JCPH offers STI testing, treatment and preventive services, including access to contraceptives, at our clinic in Lakewood (645 Parfet St.). Our services are confidential, nonjudgmental and available to all teens and adults. We accept Medicaid and several private insurances and offer many services at low cost. Same-day and next-day appointments are frequently available by calling 303-239-7078.
To learn more about STIs, including symptoms to watch for, how to get tested, educational resources and more, visit the JCPH website.
The Senior Leadership Team
Jefferson County Public Health