Gonorrhea Rates Up 97 Percent in Colorado, Problem Worst in Denver

Gonorrhea Rates Up 97 Percent in Colorado, Problem Worst in Denver
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Local health officials say the rate of gonorrhea in Denver specifically and Colorado in general are rising at alarming rates and describe the need for testing, treatment and prevention efforts in regard to the sexually transmitted disease to be urgent.

The alert comes from Jefferson County Public Health, but it concerns individuals across the state, with a particular focus on people under the age of thirty.

JCPH cites new Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data showing that gonorrhea infection rates in Colorado are up 97 percent from 2012-2016. Moreover, the lion's share of the problem is rooted here. Approximately 63 percent of all gonorrhea cases in Colorado were reported in five Denver metro counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson.

Even worse, according to a statement from Karen Wendel, the director of STD/HIV prevention and control for Denver Public Health, the types of infections surfacing at present are harder to treat than ever.

"In the Denver Metro area, we are starting to see gonorrhea infections that have lower sensitivity to one of the two main antibiotics we use," she maintains. "Though we haven’t yet seen failures with current treatments in Denver, all people with gonorrhea should get treated as quickly as possible to avoid serious health problems, prevent the spread to others, and to avoid evolution of the bacteria that could result in future antibiotic treatment failures."

Fortunately, JCPH stresses, free or low-cost STD testing can be readily found throughout the area. Click to find locations in the greater Denver metro area near you.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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