With rising sexual infections, health officials urge safety, prevention

Concerning trends in sexually transmitted infections within Missoula County have inspired public health officials to remind the community about safe practices. 

In 2020, all STI cases dropped in Missoula County, but they have been on the rise again in recent years. While chlamydia cases have decreased since picking up in 2021, gonorrhea has seen an uptick since 2021. Syphilis, most strikingly, saw a 40% increase in a per capita snapshot from the first six months of 2022 to the first six months of 2023. 

“That’s an alarming increase,” said Brad Applegate, an infectious disease expert with the Missoula City-County Health Department, in regard to syphilis cases.

This chart displays the breakdown of recent syphilis cases in Missoula County. 

Missoula City-County Health Department

Historically, he said, a rise in syphilis occurrences is quickly accompanied by increased prevalence of HIV as well. He therefore urged at-risk individuals to practice harm reduction methods and consider preventative drug treatment options. 

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