South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control is concerned about the increasing number of people being infected with a sexually transmitted disease and what it could mean for the state.
Dave Wilson, acting agency director, said the number of gonorrhea and syphilis cases have risen. Some counties are seen nearly triple digits case numbers. Wilson said since HIV is no longer considered a death sentence, people are not as careful as they once were. He said this is leading to an increase in other STD infections.
The agency would like another $1 million added to the state budget to help it decrease the rate of STDs. He said the money would be used to hire 12 new employees in four regions of the state.
Wilson said the employees would work in teams. He said they would work to reduce the long DHEC clinics’ waiting times, boost their efforts to reach state citizens and work to improve relations between clinical and field staffers.
He said the model would help the agency to decrease the number of infection.
In 2016, the number of gonorrhea cases was 9,301, which is up from 8,285 the year before. The DHEC said there were 3,024 cases in the Midlands. In 2015, that number was 2,726. Richland County also saw an increase from 1,002 to 1,201 (2015 to 2016).
Greenville state rep. Garry Smith said he’s concerned that the extra help would not lead to a rise in people seeking treatment at the clinics.
Wilson said the new DHEC employees would make it easier for the agency to track people down who were diagnosed with an STD and they would reduce the long waiting times where people go for treatment.
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One of the most common sexually transmitted infections a person can be diagnosed with is gonorrhea. The disease is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. The problem is that gonorrhea has no immediate outward symptoms, which means people spread it without even realizing it.
A sexually transmitted disease – HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes and syphilis, to name a few – can happen to anyone young or old. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are roughly 20 million new STD cases each year – with a fraction of those being reported.
Years of professional studies on antiretroviral therapies and drugs gave HIV/AIDS patients hope that someday, the experts will finally find a solution to the disease that threatens their lives as well as their loved ones’. From the statistics of 2.1 million reported deaths in the 1990s, the number of HIV/AIDS deaths is cut in half and is now at 1.2 million. Now, those years of extensive studies gave birth to a powerful pill that will solve the problem of drugs and therapy failure due to poor adherence.