AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Local STD cases are on the rise and the Amarillo Public Health Department is trying to find out why.
Cases of HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are all increasing, according to early data from 2015. The numbers are not final, but the health department said the initial outlook is not good.
"We're seeing the same trend with all of our STDs, so we do have a concern that there is unprotected sex happening in our community," said Casie Stoughton, the director of the Amarillo Public Health Department. "We really want to get the word out that to protect yourself, the best thing is to practice safe sex habits and to know your status and know your partner's status."
As the health department compiles its 2015 STD report, it's trying to find out why so many are having unprotected sex in our area.
The popularity of online dating apps are something the department is looking into. "It's so we can see what kind of trends are out there like where people are meeting each other, if it is online dating apps, or if it is kind of the more traditional bars or personal introductions," said Stoughton. "We're digging a little deeper into that because we have noticed an increase so that we can better target interventions and go where our patients are."
Patients with multiple STDs is another concerning trend for the health department. "Having one STD certainly puts you at risk of having another because of that unprotected sex," said Stoughton. "We certainly see some of that co-infection, but we want to make sure that anyone who does test positive is treated or gets into care very, very quickly."
The final STD report will be released later this year.
Residents can get tested for any STD at the Amarillo Public Health Department Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.