Georgia health officials are pleading with the public to incorporate safer sex practices as the state sees an influx of gonorrhea and syphilis cases.
According to the Georgia Department of Health, new cases of gonorrhea and syphilis jumped 17% in 2021, an unsettling leap from the previous year. Over the past decade, the cases have seen an overall 60% increase. DeWayne Ford, who is the current director of HIV Prevention Services at AID Atlanta, said the spike is “very disturbing,” eyeing the COVID-19 shutdowns as a breeding ground for sexually transmitted diseases.
“With the pandemic and people having more downtime, there may be more activity among intimate partners,” Ford explained.
Medical director for Newnan Family Medical Associates, Dr. Cecil Bennett, also agrees with that theory, citing that once the restrictions were lifted, people no longer wanted to feel restrained with how they lived. Therefore, many have rejected the concept of condoms and safe sex altogether.
Georgia is playing a significant role in fueling the nationwide rise in STD infections. For the sixth year, the United States has seen a steady boost, with half of the new cases occurring amongst young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Augusta, Savannah, and Atlanta are the cities with the highest rates.