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JACKSON (WNE) — As Wyoming experienced a concerning jump in the rates of sexually transmitted infections last year, so did Teton County.

Chlamydia — the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection — increased by 22% in Teton County, which brought case numbers up to 82 from 2020 to 2021.

Statewide, chlamydia rates jumped nearly 24% the same year, while gonorrhea and syphilis infections increased by 34% and 36%, respectively, statewide.

Teton County, meanwhile, had no positive tests for HIV or syphilis in 2020, but in 2021, roughly one person tested positive for each.

“Whether you’ve had one partner or 50 partners, our thought process is everyone who is sexually active should get tested,” said Chelsey Peters, a Teton County sexual health nurse coordinator. “A lot of infections, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be totally asymptomatic.”

State and local health officials caution that neglecting such infections can cause long-term pelvic or abdominal pain, an increased risk of getting HIV, infertility, pregnancy complications, stillbirth and infant death.

Despite those concerns, such testing decreased in Wyoming in both 2020 and 2021, compared to previous years. Health Department officials worry there may be more undiagnosed and untreated STIs in the state than reports reflect.

The Wyoming Health Department, in partnership with the CDC, offers comprehensive STI information, free safe-sex resources, testing options and treatment at KnoWyo.org.

“Almost half of all people who are sexually active are going to get an STI at some point in their life,” said Rose Linville, sexual health outreach coordinator at the Teton County Health Department. “Testing is the only way to make sure you don’t have anything.”

Retesting is just as important, since some infections and diseases take time to become detectable.

This story was published on Sept. 19, 2022.

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