Blount County has the most cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in East Tennessee, a June report from the East Tennessee Regional Health Office shows.
Reports of year-to-date numbers of sexually transmitted diseases are compiled monthly by the health department and released at the end of the following month. The June report, which notes all of the cases from the beginning of the year until May 31, showed Blount County with large amounts of several STDs.
As of May 31, Blount County has ranked highest in cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in East Tennessee region, which consists of 15 counties. Following directly behind is Sevier County.
Knox County is not included in the report because it is considered metro and not a part of the rural region, Blount County Health Department Director Robert Schmidt clarified.
Specifically, there had been 250 reported cases of chlamydia and 52 reported cases of gonorrhea in Blount County residents. Regardless of where a person is tested for STDs, the results of these tests are attributed to the patient’s county of residence.
“It’s reported to the county of residence no matter where your primary care physician is,” Schmidt said.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two most common STDs in the United States.
An STD surveillance report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found six of the 10 of the states with the highest chlamydia rates and and seven of 10 of the states with the highest gonorrhea rates are in the Southeast. The same report found that Tennessee ranked 16th in gonorrhea and 21st in chlamydia nationwide, with 35,087 and 12,426 cases, respectively.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are treated by antibiotics; however, when untreated, the infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women. PID has no symptoms but can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system, the CDC states.
Gonorrhea differs from chlamydia in that over time, it has developed a resistance to many antibiotics. The STD is now treated with two different antibiotics.
The CDC recommends yearly STD testing. People who test positive for gonorrhea and chlamydia can be treated at the Blount County Health Department.