Public Health working with Community Partners to Reduce Spread of Illness
Pueblo, CO September 27, 2022 – The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) is working with community partners this fall to increase prevention, testing, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Pueblo County. This community-wide effort is in response to continued increasing rates of STIs.
Bacteria and viruses transmitted through sexual contact are known as STIs. Pueblo County has historically been a county of higher STI rates compared to counties throughout Colorado, yet the continual increase of Syphilis resulted in public health reaching out to community partners for the overall safety of Pueblo County. The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment aims to link and mobilize community resources to widen the scope of high-quality STI prevention, testing, and treatment for individuals at risk, which are those ages 15-44.
“Looking at the rate increases has been startling. A wake-up call to healthcare in Pueblo occurred when babies were born with Syphilis, a preventable illness,” stated Justin Gage, program manager at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. Gage added, “Making prevention and testing efforts available across Pueblo became a priority of PDPHE. As a result, PDPHE gathered sexual health providers in the community to address the issue with the mission to develop collaborative solutions that increase awareness and accessibility of testing and treatment to prevent new and reoccurring STIs in Pueblo County.”
|STI Rates per 1,000|
“All people deserve quality sexual healthcare to live healthy lives,” stated Gage. Gage added, “Prevention starts through education, talking, testing and treatment services. Often STIs do not have symptoms, routine screening is important to prevent disease development and spreading to other people.”
Community partners contributing to the vision to treat people with integrity to foster equal opportunity to ensure a healthy Pueblo:
- United Way of Pueblo County
- Health Solutions
- Colorado Health Network- Southern Colorado Access Point
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE)
- Pueblo Rape Crisis Services
- Champion Family Medicine
- Steppingstone Pediatric
- Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment
Through the development and implementation of these community-wide goals, the aim is to reduce the occurrence of STI’s including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Viral Hepatitis (VH) as well as improve health inequities among target populations. PDPHE as a part of this coalition is promoting an awareness and education campaign highlighting the STI issue in the community. The clinic at PDPHE is a resource in Pueblo along with a website GoAskTara.com. The website offers a confidential and anonymous messaging service for anyone to talk to a public health specialist about sexual health questions and receive factual, non-judgmental answers within 24 hours. The website also provides information about the health department’s clinic and a map of all clinics in Pueblo that provide sexual health assistance.