An estimated 36,800 people live with HIV in North Carolina, with approximately 3,400 unaware of their infection.
Congenital syphilis, a preventable type of syphilis passed from the mother to a child during pregnancy, has increased by 63 percent from 2015. OB-GYNs and hospitals are encouraged to review the North Carolina syphilis testing guidelines and test all pregnant women for syphilis at every trimester.
The number of people newly diagnosed with syphilis was similar in 2015 and 2016, offering hope that there might be an end to a trend of increasing diagnoses that started in 2013.
Young women between 15 and 24 years old have the highest number of reported chlamydia cases. Untreated chlamydia can lead to severe health outcomes, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Sexually active teens and young adults should be screened at least annually for chlamydia.
“Sexually transmitted diseases can affect anyone, so it’s important to know how to protect yourself,” said Jacquelyn Clymore, HIV/STD/Hepatitis Director in the Communicable Disease Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health. “We encourage individuals to have an open dialogue with their health-care provider about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.”
On the increase in HIV, Clymore notes that they’ve seen an increase of fewer than 100 cases in the past three years. She also explains that the 63 percent increase in congenital syphilis represents 11 cases in 2015 going up to 18 cases in 2016.