According to the recent estimate from the Oregon Health Authority, the three reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, comprise two-thirds of all reported diseases in Oregon, and the numbers are constantly rising.
Physicians recommend that all sexually active individuals must get tested for STDs at least once a year, and those with multiple partners should seek screening every three months. STDs are passed to one person from another through oral, vagina, and anal sex. Mostly, infected individuals don't observe any signs or symptoms of STD, and the only way to detect them is through testing.
Some STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, are curable if diagnosed early. Other STDs are although not curable but are definitely manageable with treatment. Believe it or not, untreated STDs can have serious health consequences, and some can even be passed to a baby if a pregnant woman is infected with an STD.
The most at-risk individuals are those not in a monogamous relationship and those who are sexually active. Therefore, they must get tested regularly to remain aware of their sexual health status. Since STDs are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, which is why it is almost impossible to detect the infection at the right time unless the individual undergoes STD testing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just 10% of males and up to 30% of females who test positive for chlamydia in the USA actually had symptoms while the rest didn't notice any. Furthermore, syphilis and gonorrhea have sporadic symptoms. So, you must make sure that STDs testing is a part of your routine health checkup every year and undergo screening before starting a new relationship.
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Chlamydia has been the state's most reported overall disease for the past five years. According to the state's health department, there's a sudden and drastic increase in syphilis cases. In 2007, the state reported 30 syphilis cases, and in 2015, the state had 537 cases. A similar situation is observed regarding gonorrhea incidence as the number of cases has risen from 1,400 in 2006 to 3,200 in 2015. A majority of STDs reported in Oregon in 2018-2019 were among people aged 15-24, indicating that young people are at a higher risk of contracting STDs.
In Oregon state, chlamydia cases have been rising steadily. In 2007, the state had 9,869 cases, whereas, in 2016, the total number of diagnoses was 17,600. Hence, chlamydia was dubbed Oregon's most common STD.
Between 2006 and 2016, females accounted for 93,200 of all cases, while males reported 42,000 out of all cases reported in the state.
Gonorrhea is the 2nd most widely prevalent STD in Oregon, and the number of cases has tripled in the past ten years, from 1,70 in 2010 to 4,360 in 2020. What's even worse is that the bacteria have mutated and become treatment-resistant. Around half of the specimens tested in the state for antibiotic resistance were found to be immune to the best go-to medication to treat gonorrhea, ciprofloxacin. Public health officials are concerned that gonorrhea may not even be treatable in the near future. Gender-wide, males accounted for 60% of all cases in the past ten years, whereas females recorded 40% gonorrhea diagnoses.
In Oregon state, syphilis cases have increased dramatically. The state reported 26 cases in 2007, while in 2020, there were 570 cases. Most syphilis cases were diagnosed in males, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM).
STDs do not have any gender bias and infect males and females both. However, as mentioned above, in Oregon state, females have reported a higher number of STDs cases, particularly in chlamydia and gonorrhea. On the other hand, syphilis is more common among males.
Between 2007 and 2016, 14764 chlamydia cases were reported among 20-24-year-old males, and 38,545 cases were reported among 20-24-year-old females. The 25-34 age group reported 1,459 chlamydia cases among males and 21,829 cases among females. Hence, these two were the most affected age groups regarding chlamydia. Whites accounted for 71,771 cases, Black 7,780 cases, Native American/Alaska Native reported 2,402 cases, Asian, Pacific Islander had 2,837 cases, and Hispanic had 19,588 of all cases. Whites, as evident, reported 53% of all cases, followed by Hispanics with over 14% of cases, and Blacks accounted for 5.8% of all cases.
Regarding gonorrhea, 25-34-year-old males reported more cases with 4772, whereas females from the same age group reported 2,478 cases overall. The second most impacted age group was 20-24 years old as it reported 2451 gonorrhea cases among males and 2210 cases among females. The third highly impacted group was 35-44 years old. The males reported 2421 cases, and females reported 879 overall cases. The infection rate was highest among whites with 11,747 cases or 61% of all reported cases, followed by Hispanics with 2187 cases and blacks with 2487 cases.
An alarming shift noted by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is the dramatic spike in congenital syphilis cases. In 2013, the OHA reported zero cases of congenital syphilis, whereas, in 2020, the state recorded 19 cases. In 2019, the state had the 11th highest rate of congenital syphilis cases, with 43 cases per 100,000 live births.
The rate of early syphilis, which includes primary/secondary syphilis and early non-primary and early non-secondary, has also increased. Reportedly, a staggering 900% rise is noted among pregnant females reporting syphilis at birth. The situation wasn't as drastic in 2013 when just one case was identified per 100,000 population, and in 2020, 10 cases per 100,000 people were reported. The rate of syphilis among pregnant females has increased as well, with 18 cases/100,000 live births in 2013 to over 129/100,000 live births in 2020.
Between 2014 and 2020, out of the 248 pregnant females infected with syphilis, at least 28% or 69 of them had an infant with congenital syphilis. The proportion of pregnant females delivering an infant with congenital syphilis in 2014 was 2 out of 15 or 13%, whereas in 2020, this was increased to 19 out of 54 or 35%. During the same period, 18-44-year-old females reported the highest number of cases, with the median age being 27 years. 80% of these cases were detected in five counties, namely Multnomah with 36%, Marion with 14%, Jackson with 13%, Lane with 9%, and Washington with 7% of all reported cases.
The Oregon Heal Authority's STD Program works with local community medical services providers and health departments to identify and treat STIs/STDs. Through this program, newly infected contacts of infected individuals are identified, examined, and treated. Moreover, based on individual risk factors and disease prevalence, people are screened for STDs at different intervals. The STD Program of Oregon also offers technical assistance, subsidized lab testing facilities, clinical consultation, STD medications, and public health surveillance data evaluation to help the department achieve its STD-related goals.
The Oregon Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan 2017 – 2021 was devised as a joint effort to engage people at higher risk of HIV, including those with STDs, as they are highly vulnerable to developing HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the prevention and care plan aims to set forth the state's commitment to efficiency, collaboration, and innovation to ensure a coordinated response to the HIV/STD epidemic.
It collaborated with people living with HIV, community stakeholders, and service delivery providers to establish the blueprint for achieving HIV/STD prevention, care, and treatment goals. Through the Oregon Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan, new partnerships, methods and venues are provided to culturally competent testing and education opportunities to targeted populations, including partners of people living with HIV, MSM, and communities of color, particularly African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives.
Most people experience feelings of hesitation when going to get tested for STD, despite knowing they might have contracted one. EasySTD was created to change that.
Visit your nearest lab or clinic, order your home testing kit online, and follow the given instructions from an STD testing provider.
After ordering your STD test, visit the testing center to get tested or take a self sample including urine, cotton swab, or finger prick with the home testing kit and mail it back.
Receive the lab-certified results of your STD test from your test provider via mail or phone within 2 to 3 days. If the test comes positive, consult your doctor immediately.