Lansing, MI - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending sexually active residents get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) now and as part of their routine health care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2022 STI Surveillance Report and reported more than 2.5 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in the United States. As STIs can be present without symptoms, it is important to be screened for timely diagnoses and treatment.
“It is urgent that Michigan residents participate in regular screening for STIs,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “STIs are treatable and getting treated in an expedient manner can prevent complications including infertility, long-term pelvic and abdominal pain, and increased risk of giving or getting HIV. Talk to your doctor or find a location to get free, confidential testing.”
Since 2013, primary and secondary syphilis rates have increased 10% annually in Michigan and syphilis rates continue to rise even as rates of other STIs remain stable. Michigan is seeing more syphilis in women of childbearing age who may not know they are at risk and syphilis in pregnant individuals can be transmitted to the baby resulting in severe outcomes including miscarriage and stillbirth. Syphilis is highly treatable and congenital syphilis can be prevented if testing is performed. While screening for all STIs is important, it is especially important to test for syphilis in women of childbearing age.
In addition to routine STI testing, residents can prevent STIs through correct condom use, abstinence and making sure sexual partners are also tested. Anyone who has sex can get an STI, but some groups including young people ages 15-24, gay and bisexual men, pregnant people and racial and ethnic minority groups are more at risk.
In Michigan, those diagnosed with an STI can receive Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) - an option that allows providers to streamline the process of treating the partners of their patients in select cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. EPT allows clinicians to provide treatment for partners without a separate visit, which also reduces the chance of their patients becoming reinfected.
Information about STI testing at local health departments and additional testing locations can be found at Michigan.gov/HIVSTI. More information and resources about STIs are available on the CDC’s website. Data, resources and technical assistance for Michigan’s STI program are also available at Michigan.gov/HIVSTI.