Dallas County Saw Highest Increase in the U.S. for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Rates Last Year, Study Shows

Dallas County saw the highest percentage increase in the nation for cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea between 2016 and 2017, according to a Health Testing Centers analysis of the 2017 STD Surveillance Report by the Centers for Disease Control.Along with the rest of the U.S., Dallas County has seen rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections go up in recent years. But last year, more than 2,500 prospective patients were turned away from the Dallas County STD clinic because of a lack of available appointments. Before he started his job as the county’s health director a few weeks ago, Dr. Philip Huang called Dallas County’s STD clinic appointment line as an experiment to see how long a person might have to wait to set up an appointment.He was on hold for an hour and never got through, he said at Tuesday's Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting.Huang told commissioners of his plans to significantly expand the clinic's capacity to see patients. Between 200 and 400 people were turned away each month over the last two years, and “that's not even counting people calling in” like he did, Huang said.County changesThe county will consolidate its sexually transmitted infection clinic with its HIV early-intervention clinic. The early intervention clinic once served only patients newly diagnosed with HIV, but since a funding change, it has largely served the same purpose as the STI clinic, Huang said.Efforts to merge the two clinics, which aim to give the county greater capacity for patients, have already begun, he said.The consolidated clinic will get a new name, too. It will be re-branded the “Sexual Health Clinic” rather than the STD clinic, in an effort to push back against the stigma around STDs.“There are people who don't want to be seen at the ‘STD clinic,’” Huang said.  Continue reading...

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