Gonorrhea infections treated at the York City Health Bureau spiked to 292 last year - up from 140 cases in 2011.
Health workers at the bureau have also seen chlamydia cases become increasingly common in recent years, with more than 500 people seeking treatment for that infection each of the past two years, said Linda Otero, a disease intervention specialist.
"We're thinking that partners are not getting treated," Otero said. "These individuals are left untreated and probably they meet new partners and this infection just spreads that way."
Hoping to tackle the problem, the city is launching a new treatment program.
Starting Monday, the health bureau will provide free antibiotic treatment to the sexual partners of city residents who have been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhea or chlamydia. Partners do not need to live in the city to receive treatment, Otero said.
"If this person doesn't have health insurance and has nowhere to go to get medications, they can come here," she said.
But, that process must be initiated by the original patient. Only the patient - not the city - will be contacting partners about potential infections.
"They can inform their partner of their infection, and at that point the partner has to take the initiative to come here," Otero said.
A person who shows up with a potential infection will need to provide the name of the partner who contacted them. Then, the health bureau will provide treatment - two pills for chlamydia and one pill for gonorrhea, Otero said.
Patients will also be asked to provide a urine sample so the health bureau can confirm infection, she said.
"Some individuals might have two infections as opposed to one," Otero said. "We want to make sure that we treat them for the correct infection."
Anyone informed of a potential infection can seek treatment at the Albert S. Weyer Health Center, 435 W. Philadelphia St., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are not necessary but can be made by calling (717) 849-2299.
- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.