To prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, Health Department recommends condom use and regular testing; syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics
New campaign will encourage STI testing and run on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Gay Ad Network and Grindr and in bus shelters and subway cars citywide
August 31, 2017 – The Health Department today released new data showing that rates of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea continue to increase, mirroring national trends over the past three years. From 2015 to 2016, New York City rates of syphilis increased by 27 percent; rates of gonorrhea rose by 13 percent; and rates of chlamydia increased by 6 percent. The vast majority of syphilis and most gonorrhea cases are among men, particularly men who have sex with other men, while women continue to have the highest rates of chlamydia. These increases are related to many factors, including more New Yorkers being tested with improved techniques.
As part of the Health Department’s efforts to address the increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a new citywide campaign encouraging New Yorkers to get tested will appear in bus shelters and subways and run on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Gay Ad Network and Grindr. This new campaign follows “Bare It All,” a provocative and groundbreaking citywide awareness campaign that emboldens New Yorkers to talk openly with their doctors about their sex lives, drug use and other issues that affect their health. Earlier this year, the City also expanded clinical services and hours of operations at its Sexual Health Clinics (formerly known as STD clinics). Anyone 12 years or older can be tested for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV at the City’s Sexual Health Clinics, even if they have no symptoms.
As part of his plan to End the HIV Epidemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio has invested $23 million annually to reduce the number of new HIV infections, as well as assure a strong STI prevention infrastructure. The investment is unparalleled and places New York City in the best possible position to effectively curb STI increases.
“The increase in rates of sexually transmitted infections is a disturbing national trend that has had a widespread impact on this city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Fortunately, these infections are easily preventable and treatable when detected early. This year alone, we have revamped our Sexual Health Clinics and expanded services to guarantee all New Yorkers have access to affordable screening and care. All sexually active New Yorkers should play safe, get screened regularly and have fun.”
“Preventing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, means using all the tools we have in our prevention toolkit,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control. “Condoms prevent most STIs, including HIV. HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and HIV treatment prevent HIV transmission and engage New Yorkers in healthcare that includes regular STI testing. ‘Playing sure’ means using the prevention options that fit your lifestyle and pursuit of sexual satisfaction. Frequent and correct STI testing should be a key component of any sexually active New Yorker’s prevention plan. I am proud to live in a city that emphasizes the sexual health of its residents.”
“Sex is part of human existence. It can contribute to one’s fulfillment and sense of wellbeing, but it can also pose health risks,” said Assistant Commissioner Dr. Susan Blank, Bureau of STD Control. “Short of abstinence – which is not realistic for many New Yorkers – condoms provide the best protection available for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. New Yorkers should talk to their providers about if and how they have sex, so that their providers can screen for and treat any infections before they lead to long term complications.”
“Sexually transmitted infections continue to be a critical public health issue, particularly among young people,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The rising rates of infections are alarming, but everyone should take measures to protect themselves. I urge all Brooklynites to take control of their health and get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, and other infections. Don’t delay and get tested.”
"Awareness and access to care are critical components in containing the spread of STIs like HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea. We need to make sure that New Yorkers, particularly young men who have sex with other men, are educated on the importance of being tested early and often,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I’m grateful to Mayor de Blasio, DOHMH Commissioner Bassett, and Dr. Daskalakis for their commitment to bringing down the rate of STIs and their ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of all New Yorkers."
"Given the alarming increase in the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) across our City and our country, it is critical for New Yorkers to speak frankly with their doctors about their sexual lives and get tested regularly as STIs can be successfully prevented and treated if detected early," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I applaud the efforts of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for raising further awareness about the importance of embracing a safe and healthy sexual life."
Many people with STIs have no signs or symptoms. However, untreated STIs can have lasting health effects, including visual and hearing loss, dementia, paralysis, infertility and stillbirth. Having syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia can make it easier to get or spread HIV. The best way to prevent the spread of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia is through condom use, early detection and treatment. Sexually active New Yorkers are encouraged to be open and honest with their doctors about their sexual practices and ask about getting tested for STIs. Testing for these infections is easy, and they are curable with antibiotics.
Among other recent efforts by the Health Department to prevent and treat STIs are:
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez, (347) 396-4177PressOffice@health.nyc.gov