VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. — As doctors are still hard at work fighting COVID, there’s another health issue in Ventura County — sexually transmitted diseases.
“Ever since COVID-19 begun we really noticed a new epidemic,” said Lissa Barger, who is an Infectious Disease physician at VCMC. “The second epidemic is what we call an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.”
Infectious Disease Physicians at Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula hospital have seen a significant rise in the number of cases in the last two months.
“This includes such things like Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, HIV, Herpes,” said Barger. “These are things that for the most part can be treated and many can be cured and we really not only want to treat them but prevent them from happening in the first place.”
Physicians here say, it’s more serious than people think. Doctors are seeing cases that could have been cured with antibiotics, but because they went untreated, people are ending up in the hospital.
“Without treatment these cases, especially Gonorrhea,” said Nessa Meshkaty, who is an Infectious Disease Physician at VCMC. “It can lead to very serious life threatening issues like effecting the heart valve, and ending up in the ICU. I think it is really important to treat these to avoid that. We are seeing such severe disease that it reminds us of what it might be like in the pre-antibiotic era, and that is why we are sounding the alarms and hoping to get the message out.”
Sexually transmitted diseases have been on the rise nation wide for the last few years. Ventura County Public Health department is trying to figure out what’s behind the recent spike.
“I think it is a multifactorial problem,” said Barger. “One reason is patients don’t want to go to the doctor, they are scared. Number two, patients are not going to the doctor and they are not getting tested as they regularly would.”
In the meantime physicians want people to take precautions, get tested, and be aware of symptoms.
For more information on where you can get tested, you can call 805-981-5221 or 888-285-5012, or click here.
Published at Tue, 27 Oct 2020 18:16:00 +0000