Chlamydia and syphillis cases are on the rise in Pima County, but that’s partially because testing is becoming more common.

The county health department reports medical providers weren’t proactively testing for STIs over the last 10 years. That pattern was perpetuated further when the pandemic hit and resources became less accessible.

Now, more people can get these tests. But Desdemona Hartung, the HIV/STI program manager at the health department, said there are still stigmas surrounding these conversations that deter people from getting tested.

“I would encourage folks if you feel like your symptomatic or you’ve been exposed to an STI, please come see us. We’re a confidential, open space. No one’s ever returned away,” Hartung explained.

“We want to work with you and build a work plan that works for your sexual health needs to ensure that you are set up for success in whatever capacity that looks like.”

Hartung stressed that especially pregnant women should get tested, as syphilis can be transmitted to babies.

If left untreated, it can be deadly.

The Pima County health department recommends to at least start a conversation with your primary care doctor if you’re not being tested annually.

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