While an epidemiologist with the Central District Health Department confirmed that the overall number of confirmed cases of syphilis so far in 2012 may be considered low—21—she also said there's good reason for concern.
"Right now, we're up 200 percent over all of 2011," said CDHD's Sarah Correll. "When you consider that each of the confirmed cases is typically linked to multiple partners, it grows exponentially. And yes, if it continues at this rate, it looks like we could be up 400 percent from last year."
Unchecked and untreated, syphilis can invade the brain, spinal cord or heart.
Meanwhile, chlamydia is the most-common sexually transmitted disease. In Idaho, 4,705 cases were confirmed in 2011, of which 1,630 were reported in CDHD's district, which includes Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties.
"Chlamydia is on the increase," said Nikki Sakata, CDHD's Community Health Division program manager. "It has probably increased 100 to 200 cases a year, just in our district."
In the Wednesday, July 11, edition of Boise Weekly, we visit with CDHD clinicians and support staff to talk about the increasing dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and how the agency continues to reach out to Treasure Valley residents, particularly teens, to encourage safe sex.