STD rates on the rise across state

The state Department of Health released its 2016 sexually transmitted diseases data this week, and the numbers aren’t good.

STD rates are on the rise across the state. And while Clark County rates of infection for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are lower than statewide rates, they’ve gone up, too.

State health officials recorded 31,193 cases of chlamydia last year (434.2 cases per 100,000 people). That’s up from 28,748 cases in 2015.

In Clark County, 1,912 people contracted the STD last year (414.7 cases per 100,000 people) – up from 1,686 cases in 2015.

Statewide, the rate of chlamydia cases is significantly higher among women – 561.6 cases per 100,000 compared to 305 cases per 100,000 among men.

State health officials report that chlamydia rates are highest among 20- to 24-year-old women.

The gonorrhea rate statewide last year was 113.7 cases per 100,000 (8,165 cases). Locally, it was 85.9 cases per 100,000 (396 cases). In 2015, the local rate was 55.6 cases per 100,000.

Primary and secondary syphilis rates were significantly lower: 7.9 per 100,000 people statewide and 4.6 per 100,000 in Clark County.

State health officials also recorded five cases on congenital syphilis in 2016. Two of those cases were among Clark County newborns.

Before last year, Clark County had gone several years with no cases of congenital syphilis, according to local health officials.

The state generally has one or no cases of congenital syphilis per year. But the five cases in 2016 marked the highest number of cases since 1992, according to the state Department of Health.

As a result of the increasing STD rates, state health officials are urging anyone younger than 25 who is sexually active to be tested annually.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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