'You name it, we've seen an increase in STDs, and now HIV is following suit'

EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County saw 19 new cases of HIV in 2016, up from 13 the year before.

The increase is part of a broader trend among all sexually transmitted infections, according to the county health department.

"You name it, we've seen an increase in STDs," Jason Davis with Lane County said, "and now HIV is following suit."

For example: Gonorrhea cases jumped from 164 in 2015 to nearly 250 cases last year.

So Lane County Health and 2 partner agencies are joining forces to get the word out.

"The CDC is recommending that everyone get tested for HIV," said Amanda McCluskey with the HIV Alliance. "With these new increases it just makes a lot of sense for us to offer this to the general population."

A recent cluster of 8 new HIV cases in the Florence area set off alarms for public health officials.

"We could have seen that cluster be maybe one or two people maximum," Davis said, "but instead, because of lack of testing and because of lack of safe sex, we saw that number grow to 8."

"What we're attributing that to is complacency," McCluskey said. "People are not practicing safe sex as often as they should."

McCluskey said the new infections have been confirmed in both men and women, gay and heterosexual alike.

Expanded testing to the general public is being offered at the HIV Alliance on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

"Everyone should get tested for HIV," McCluskey said, "regardless of whether you think you're high risk or not."

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