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MDHHS encourages residents to get tested during STI Awareness Week April 14-20

As part of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Awareness Week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding Michiganders to make sure STI screening is part of their regular health care routine.

“Routine testing and timely treatment of STIs are critical to keep ourselves, our partners and our unborn children safe,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “MDHHS encourages Michiganders to include STI testing as part of their routine health care – talk to your doctor or health care provider about testing frequency based on your likelihood of exposure. All STIs are treatable, but if left untreated can lead to other serious health complications.”

In addition to getting tested for STIs, residents can get vaccinations for hepatitis B and HPV and use condoms. Reducing the number of sexual partners can also reduce the chance for STIs.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea remain the most common STIs in Michigan. Teens and young adults across all demographic groups are most impacted by chlamydia and gonorrhea, with Black Michiganders being disproportionately affected compared to white Michiganders. Syphilis continues to increase at an alarming rate throughout the state.

Since 2014, rates of symptomatic/infectious syphilis have doubled in Michigan. Most syphilis cases tend to occur in men, with gay and bisexual men being disproportionately affected. However, there has been a significant increase in syphilis occurring among heterosexual men and women. In 2016, heterosexual men and women accounted for 20% of infectious syphilis cases; in 2023, they accounted for almost half.

With the increase in heterosexual cases, there has been a drastic increase in syphilis in pregnant individuals that transmit to their babies, which is known as congenital syphilis. Congenital syphilis cases reported in 2022 and 2023 have exceeded totals seen in Michigan since 1993. Congenital syphilis is preventable with effective prenatal care that includes testing for syphilis as required during the first and third trimesters and receiving treatment before delivery if necessary. If left untreated, congenital syphilis can lead to serious health complications for the baby, including death.

In Michigan, those diagnosed with an STI can receive Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT), an option that allows providers to streamline the process of treating 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, additional testing locations and other STI Program data, resources and technical assistance can be found at Michigan.gov/HIVSTI. More information and resources about STIs are available on CDC’s website.

MDHHS offersPlan First, a limited health coverage program through Medicaid, that covers family planning services including STI testing and treatment, contraceptive services and supplies, vaccines and other preconception health services.

 

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