Northhampton, MA, the county seat of Hampshire County, is experiencing a surge in new STD diagnoses. Between 2010 to 2015, most counties in the state saw significant increases in all bacterial sexually transmitted infections.
Hampshire County reported 21 new cases of gonorrhea in 2012. In 2015, it jumped to 48, and by 2016 there were 73 new infections.
The number of new HIV diagnoses went from 8 in 2010 to 11 in 2011.
Primary and secondary syphilis infections are also on the rise, jumping from 3 new cases in 2012 to 9 in 2016. Early latent syphilis diagnoses went from 1 in 2014 to 3 in 2016.
State and local health officials in Massachusetts and Northampton are concerned with the rising STD rates in their communities and are stressing the importance of education, safe sexual practices, and regular testing to reduce the spread of these diseases.
Northampton and the surrounding area has many locations that offer comprehensive STD testing. Most of these sites include STI education, treatment, and follow-up services.
One option is the Holyoke Health Center on the corner of Maple St and Dwight St in Holyoke. Off-street parking is available, and the site is accessible by a public bus route.
Tapestry Health on the corner of Cabot St and Race St. in Holyoke also offers STI screening services.
Some clinics may provide free STD testing, but they could ask for proof of income, and getting an appointment might not be as convenient as it is with low-cost centers. Additionally, free sites might not have a doctor consultation available.