Sexually Transmitted Diseases Rise in County

Article excerpt

Byline: Saul Hubbard The Register-Guard

Lane County is experiencing a "pretty significant" spike in reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases, county health officials said.

Through Oct. 11, reported cases of gonorrhea are up to 94 this year, compared with 66 for the same period in 2011 - a 42 percent increase - while reported cases of chlamydia are up to 1,159 from 995 for the same period in 2011 - a 16 percent increase.

Increases for both diseases are more significant among women, the county's data shows, but the outbreak is not being classified as "female -driven" in part because reported rates for both are typically higher among women.

Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are major causes of serious reproductive complications in women and gonorrhea can facilitate transmission of the HIV virus. While some men with gonorrhea may experience painful urination coupled with abnormal genital discharge, most women with gonorrhea experience either no symptoms or mistake the associated painful urination, bleeding and vaginal discharge with a bladder or vaginal infection.

Both conditions can be prevented by practicing safe sex. If contracted but discovered early, they can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Reported cases of other common sexually transmitted diseases and infections, such as genital herpes or syphilis, are not showing unusual spikes so far this year, but "we're watching them closely," said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Lane County's public health officer.

Luedtke said this year's gonorrhea rate increase in particular "is quite concerning,"

In Oregon, cases of most sexually transmitted diseases and infections must be reported by laboratories, doctors, or nurse practitioners to public health officials within one day of someone testing positive.

However, those reported cases don't come close to the number of actual cases. The Centers for Disease Control estimates there are 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea and 2.8 million new cases of chlamydia annually nationwide. …