Major jump in sexually transmitted infections leads to epidemic - KPTV - FOX 12

Major jump in sexually transmitted infections leads to epidemic declaration in Clackamas Co.

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Health officials have declared the major jump in three sexually transmitted infections to be an epidemic in Clackamas County.

Clackamas County Public Health reports chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis rates are skyrocketing in the county.

From 2007 to 2016, syphilis rates in the county increased by 1,334 percent. From 2012 to 2016, chlamydia rates increased 26 percent in Clackamas County, while gonorrhea infections went up 162 percent.

More than 25 percent of the chlamydia cases occurred among teens between the ages of 15 and 19, with 70 percent of all chlamydia cases in the county occurring in women.

“Similar to other patterns of disease, there is not a single direct cause for the growing number of STIs or the disproportionate burden some populations face," said Dr. Sarah Present, Clackamas County Health Officer. "Rather, it is a combination of the many social, cultural, and structural factors that influence sexual behavior, risk and transmission of STIs."

The rise of STIs in Clackamas County mirrors national, statewide, and regional trends, according to health officials. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified approximately 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the U.S. – the highest number ever recorded.

If left untreated, STIs can cause serious reproductive and physical health problems. The good news, according to Clackamas County Public Health, is that bacterial STIs are frequently preventable and, at this point, treatable. Prevent and treatment options include:

  • Use condoms consistently
  • Get tested regularly and request that your partners also get tested, every six months if you have multiple sexual partners
  • Take your full course of antibiotics if you test positive for an STI
  • Recommend that your sexual partners get tested and treated if you test positive for an STI

To combat rising STI rates, the county will work to educate and support people who test positive to seek medical treatment, expand case investigation, partner notification and treatment services.

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