BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (AP) — A Mercer County health official says prostitution is a factor in a recent increase in sexually transmitted disease cases.
Public health nurse Judy Bolton says the county health department saw 27 cases of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, in June. She tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the typical number of monthly cases is 10 to 15, at most.
“It’s been especially worse since January this year. We are having a huge number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, which are sexually transmitted diseases. And there is treatment for those people who come in and get treatment; if they don’t, they can get complications. They need to realize that HIV and hepatitis B is transmitted the same way as chlamydia and gonorrhea,” Bolton said.
The increase coincides with a rise in prostitution activity.
“They’re a big problem here. It’s been worse this past year than we’ve ever seen it before,” Bolton said.
But it’s difficult to track prostitutes who have sexually transmitted diseases. Often, people who have had contact with them can’t give health officials much information about them, she said.