Amarillo Globe-News (08.21.2013)
The Amarillo, Texas, Department of Public Health Clinic reported increased incidence of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis during 2013 in comparison with the same time period in 2012. During the first six months of 2013, the clinic diagnosed 182 chlamydia infections (approximately 60 more than the first six months of 2012), 92 gonorrhea infections (double the number diagnosed during the first six months of 2012), and 15 syphilis cases (compared with one during the first six months of 2012). The clinic also diagnosed one HIV infection in 2013 (the clinic made no diagnoses during the first six months of 2012). Randall and Potter counties previously recorded a decline in chlamydia and gonorrhea incidence and steady syphilis incidence during 2010 and 2011.
Amarillo Director of Public Health Matt Richardson praised the clinic’s testing and counseling services, but urged the adoption of “better solutions” to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Current public health clinic services included counseling patients on high-risk activities such as unprotected sex and multiple partners. Department of Health partners included the Panhandle AIDS Support Organization (PASO) and Haven Health Clinic. PASO provided free HIV and STI testing and distributed free male and female condoms, and Haven Health Clinic provided tests for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, and herpes.
PASO and Haven Health Clinic spokespersons advised that STI-infected people often were unaware they were infected and that every population group was at risk for HIV and other STIs, not only gay or bisexual men, drug users, and sex workers. STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhea eventually could result in chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility, according to CDC.