Published August 10, 2020 Written by Testing.com Editorial Staff
The Denver, Colorado, area has seen a rising number of sexually transmitted disease cases. As in the rest of the nation, STDs that previously saw historic lows or nearly extinct have made a comeback in Denver’s metro, especially over the last decade. According to the CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2018 report, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have all been increasing across the country.
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Testing for STDs at home is safe, convenient, and private. Performed regularly, it can help you stay healthy and avoid unknowingly transmitting STDs.
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According to Denver Public Health, Denver’s rate of STDs continues to climb. The three most common STDs, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are up dramatically for the fourth consecutive year.
Although it’s seen the smallest increase by percentage, chlamydia remains the most prevalent STD in Denver, according to the Denver Public Health office. Chlamydia diagnoses saw an increase of 24% in 2018 compared to four years earlier, affecting an estimated 7,317 Denver city residents. This means more than one in 100 people were infected. Colorado’s 2018 Sexually Transmitted Infection Annual Report listed 511.4 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 statewide, which indicated a 6.4% increase from 2017 and a comparable 25.2% increase from 2014.
Rates of Chlamydia Cases in Colorado, 2009-2018
The rate of gonorrhea infections grew more sharply than both chlamydia and syphilis combined, with an increase of 150% from 2104 to 2018. An estimated 2,703 cases were reported in the city of Denver, with rises in men and women. Statewide, there were 156.2 cases per 100,000 in 2018, which accounted for a 163.7% growth over the previous four years.
In Denver County, reported cases of syphilis climbed 75% since 2014 with 405 new cases in 2018. While there was a noticeable spike in syphilis cases among women of childbearing age, 90% of new cases still emerged from the male population. The 2018 STI Annual Report listed 19 cases per 100,000 people for all stages of syphilis, which represented an increase of 30.8% from 2017 and a 110.9% increase from 2014.
Although Denver Public Health officials emphasize that the factors causing the rise in STDs remain unknown, some contributing factors could include reduced STD screening, decreased condom use, and increased number of sexual partners. Many individuals go undiagnosed, despite the availability of confidential, often free or low-cost testing and treatment options. Without testing, you have a higher risk of HIV infection, infertility, and numerous other health-related problems. There’s no way to know for sure whether you have an STD without testing.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain one of the most critical public health challenges facing the United States, with approximately 26 million new STD infections occurring every year. Nearly half of these new infections affect young people ages 15 to 24.
Community-based organizations are a vital first line of defense in the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS in particular. They generate awareness and foster social change while providing access to testing and treatment.
You may not be aware of all the STD resources available in Denver that can help prevent the spread of STDs. Get connected with these community organizations that are leading the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS with resources and support:
Denver Public Health
Denver Public Health offers low-cost, confidential testing for HIV and hepatitis C with same-day results, as well as testing for numerous STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, cervicitis, HPV, herpes, trichomoniasis, and urethritis. It is a first-come, first-served clinic with walk-ins accepted from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Reduced fees are based on an income sliding scale and the services being provided. If payment is required, it ranges from $20 to $80. However, clients aged 25 and younger may be seen free of charge with a valid photo ID.
HeyDenver is a nonprofit community-based organization that’s part of the Denver Colorado AIDS Project. It provides free, confidential STD testing and sexual health services at a non-clinical site and sends specimens to Denver Public Health for testing. Tests offered include rapid HIV with results in approximately 10 minutes, rapid hepatitis C with results in 20-30 minutes, and chlamydia and gonorrhea, with results in 7-10 days. Testing is available by appointment only from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. It also offers contact-free, at-home HIV tests at no charge.
Denver Central Planned Parenthood offers testing, diagnosis, and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital warts, plus testing and diagnosis only for HIV. Other STD testing, diagnosis, and treatment services may also be available. Testing is performed on a walk-in basis or by appointment during all business hours. STD vaccination and counseling services are also available. Prices vary for screening and treatment, and some may be covered by insurance. Spanish translators are on-site, with interpretation for other languages available by phone. Individuals may receive the same services from the Denver Southeast and Park Hill locations.
Alternatives Pregnancy Center serves women living anywhere in the Denver metro. All services are free and confidential, including STD testing and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, herpes, HIV, HPV, and trichomoniasis. It also offers free screening for cervical cancer, urinary tract infection, and yeast infection, as well as free pregnancy testing and limited ultrasound services. Testing is available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at the Central Downtown office; Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at the East Metro office; Wednesdays and Thursdays at the West Metro office; and Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Castle Rock office.
Individuals can receive free, confidential HIV testing with rapid results within 20 minutes at It Takes A Village. The clinic also offers STD testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea in collaboration with Denver Public Health, and individuals who test positive receive free treatment at its STD clinic. HIV and STD testing are available every Monday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Support groups, substance abuse counseling, and some financial assistance are also offered. Services are available in Spanish upon request.
Vivent Health provides rapid HIV testing that’s free, confidential, and available to everyone, with results in about 20 minutes. It also offers chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis C testing as part of its prevention services. At-home HIV testing kits are also available to eligible individuals. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are preferred, and testing is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Center on Colfax offers free, confidential HIV/STD testing on-site delivered weekly by Denver Health. On-site mental health counseling options and referrals, and a wide variety of health and wellness classes are also offered. The center is closed currently and will resume offering in-person services, such as STD testing, when they reopen in the summer of 2021.