Syphilis Cases Rise in Washoe County - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Syphilis Cases Rise in Washoe County

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The Washoe County Health District is urging Northern Nevadans to practice safe sex due to an outbreak of syphilis in our community.

The Washoe County Health District says cases of infectious syphilis grew by 100% from 2012 to 2013 and although the number is still relatively small, they say it's very tough to fight.

And they're seeing more and more people who aren't using condoms in our area.

"We hear a lot anecdotally from our clients saying, 'you know, we're just tired of the whole condom message," says Jennifer Howell.

Since 2010 the number of cases in Washoe County has gone from the low teens up to the high 70's where it stands right now.

It's most common among men who have sex with men - and it's also been found in the homeless community.

Anyone can catch it and it can be hard to identify since the symptoms don't always show up right away. People will get a painless sore somewhere on their bodies which is followed by rashes on the hands, feet, or body.

If it's left untreated, syphilis can lead to sterility, blindness, major neurological damage - and even death. But, it is treatable. And of course, preventable by practicing safe sex.

"We are asking everyone to do their part with that, to open the communication, to get tested, and then to do what they need to do for prevention."

Washoe County says they're seeing increases in both gonorrhea and chlamydia as well. They are urging people to get tested for all STD's either at their doctor's office, or at the health district office.

Written by Arianna Bennett

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