The rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis have risen across the state by 25% since 2012. In 2012, 401 cases of these STDs were reported per 100,000 residents; however, by the year 2016 this statistic had witnessed a boom to 496 cases per 100,000 residents.
Therefore, by the year 2016 there were 44,300 new cases of just these three STDs reported, an increase of almost 9,000 new cases per year.
The Health Department attributes this rate of increase to such influencing factors as dating apps, casual hookups, and a lack of proper education leading to preventative safety measures. Health professionals and sexual education organizations promote such treatments and preventative options as the PrEP medication for high risk individuals, along with regular STD testing.
During the month of April, which is recognized as STI Awareness Month, many organizations and clinics host special testing and educational opportunities. There are also conferences and outreach programs set up to try to destigmatize and better educate about STDs. Outreach programs include free STD testing and long lines are common as residents learn how to protect themselves.
In Toms River you can find locations like Ocean Health Initiatives Incorporated on Lakehurst Road and Ocean County Health Department on Sunset Avenue for testing services.