Milwaukee is seeing an alarming increase in sexually transmitted diseases, health officials state. More concerning is that a large number of those affected are teenagers.
At least 125 people are now confirmed to have contracted HIV, syphilis or both, in one of the largest sexually transmitted infection “clusters” in the city, Fox News reports. Some of these patients are as young as high school students from Milwaukee Public Schools. The number is less than 10% of those infected, but health authorities expect the number of cases to increase.
Melissa Ugland, a public health consultant, said, “This is an epidemic people are not talking about enough, and it leads to people taking unnecessary risks.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a “cluster” as “an unusual aggregation, of disease that are grouped together in time and place.” Ugland said that this cluster was identified because all of the patients could be connected – as in they were in contact with each other in a chain during a 12-month period.
Most of the people tested were men, with 45% of them turning out to be HIV positive, according to Ugland and health workers. Information about the schools affected by this cluster has not been released.
Health officials confirmed that most troubling of all, three local babies were born with syphilis in the same cluster. The Milwaukee Health Department tweeted,
Troubling public health news, there has been an increase in new cases of HIV/Syphilis. Sadly this included infants in 2017.
The health department released a statement saying that the whole city has seen a rise in incidences of sexually transmitted diseases among teens and young adults ages 15 to 24.
“Because schools have a significant number of students in the 15-18 age group, we are working with the Milwaukee Health Department, in a collaborative and preventive effort, to share information with young people in middle schools and high schools to keep them healthy and to protect their health,” the statement read.