A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control found that a record number of people are contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Southwest Florida is also on the rise.
“The rate of STDs in Collier County has been increasing for the past five years which is consistent with the state and national trends,” Collier County Florida Department of Health explained in an email.
In 2017, Collier County reported 1,084 cases of chlamydia. And in Lee County, there were more than 2,800 cases of chlamydia on the books.
After the CDC compared the numbers from 2016 to 2017, it found the number of reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis increased by more than 200,000 up to nearly 2.3 million cases.
Dr. Mary Beth Saunders, of Lee Health, said most STDs go undiagnosed because people do not seek medical advice.
On the other hand, some medical experts believe people just don’t know as much as they should about sexually transmitted diseases. “While we provide a great deal of health education in general in this part of the state – there’s not enough health education,” said Stephanie Fraim, who is an administrator at Planned Parenthood for Southwest and Central Florida. “There’s not enough health education in schools, homes, or community organizations.”
Where to get tested
There are a number of health centers that provide free or low-cost testing and treatment throughout Southwest Florida.
In Collier County, patients can head to the following locations:
3339 Tamiami Trail East
Naples, FL 34112
Walk-In Clinic is available every Tuesday from 8 AM to 3:15 PM
Appointment hours Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8 am to 3:15 pm
419 North First Street
Immokalee, FL 34142
Walk-In Clinic is available 8 am to 4 pm Monday – Friday (Immokalee)
8595 College Parkway, Suite 250
Fort Myers, FL 33919
Additional reporting by Rebecca Fath