Public Health Officials advise community members to get an STD Health Screening

The Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging residents, especially pregnant women to seek sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) health screenings to safeguard their and their newborns’ health.

“STDs can have serious health consequences,” DPH officials shared via a Tuesday morning news release. “People with these infections do not always experience disease symptoms, but, if left untreated, some can increase the risk of HIV infection, or can cause chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, severe pregnancy, newborn complication and even infant death.”

According to the DPH, in 2020, El Paso reported a sharp decrease in STD cases; however, officials believe it may be due to hesitancy and delay in seeking timely medical care during the pandemic.

“In the first four months of 2021, officials reported a considerable increase in STD cases when compared to 2019, with an even greater increase in Syphilis cases among pregnant women,” DPH officials said.

New data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that reported annual cases of STDs in the United States continued to climb in 2019, reaching an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year.

The newly released 2019 STD Surveillance Report found:

  • 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – the three most commonly reported STDs in 2019.
  • A nearly 30% increase in these reportable STDs between 2015 and 2019.
  • The sharpest increase was in cases of syphilis among newborns (i.e., congenital syphilis), which nearly quadrupled between 2015 and 2019.

DPH is urging pregnant women to seek timely prenatal care and receive any necessary health screenings to detect and treat STDs and prevent transmitting the disease and any harmful effects to their newborn baby.

According to the DPH, under the Texas Health Code, medical providers are required to test pregnant patients for STDs during their first and third pregnancy trimesters as well as during delivery and report all positive cases to DPH.

Public Health Officials remind healthcare providers to screen pregnant women of any required STD diagnostic screenings, as required by law, to safeguard the mother and the newborn baby’s health.

Individuals in need of STD screenings or prenatal care may contact the DPH CommUnity Care Center for an appointment at (915) 212-0200 and select Option 5 or visit under the Services Tab CommUnity Care Center or call 2-1-1 for a referral to services.