Health officials in central Oregon are concerned about a dramatic increase in the number of STD cases last year. While STD rates have been steadily rising since 2010, last year saw the biggest jump in recent memory.
“It’s been an increase that I haven’t seen before in all my years of public health in Central Oregon,” said Karen Yeargain, communicable disease coordinator for the Crook County Health Department. “And it’s been sustained. It hasn’t gone away.”
In 2017, the number of chlamydia cases in Crook county nearly doubled form the previous year. Cases of chlamydia in Jefferson county went up 52% in the same time. Gonorrhea and syphilis cases also saw a dramatic increase throughout central Oregon. STD trends throughout Oregon trends match patterns across the state and country, but for reasons that remain unclear, Deschutes County, Crooks County and Jefferson County have been well above the national average for STD transmission rates.
Public health officials in the state are attributing the evolution of HIV infection into a “manageable condition” for reducing the perceived risk of unprotected sex. Some health officials have stated that this mindset is allowing for the rapid spread of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. They further blame the increased use of dating apps throughout the region. Others have cited a need for better monitoring of infectious disease, better funding for STD awareness campaigns and more easily accessible testing for citizens.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all bacterial infections. This means they can be cured with the use of antibiotics. If left untreated though, these infections can develop up into more serious health problems such as infertility or death. If you believe that you may have been exposed to an STD or HIV, you should testing performed right away. Many times, symptoms will not be obvious and testing can be the best way to determine if you are infected. There are many options for STD testing in Oregon and other states. Testing can be quick, affordable and convenient.