Cases of some of the more common types of sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise statewide, but Grays Harbor County finds itself well below the state average in most categories, according to 2017 data released Tuesday the State Department of Health.
In 2017, for example, statewide there were 32,454 cases of chlamydia reported, up from 31,195 in 2016. That adds up to 444 cases for every 100,000 people in the state. In Grays Harbor County in 2017, the chlamydia rate was just under 303 per 100,000 with 221 cases reported.
Statewide, cases of gonorrhea were 137.1 per 100,000, with 10,022 cases reported, up from 8,165 in 2016. In Grays Harbor County, there were only 46 cases reported, giving the county a rate of 63.1 per 100,000, well below the state rate.
Syphilis has become rare, but statewide rates are still on the rise. There were 674 cases reported in 2017, up from 569 in 2016, a rate of 9.2 cases out of 100,000 population. The rate in Grays Harbor County was negligible with only three cases reported in 2017. The same can be said for herpes. Only three cases were reported in the county in 2017, while statewide there were 2,058 cases and a rate of 28.2 cases per 100,000 population.
Pacific County’s numbers are even lower. In fact, the only measurable rate in 2017 was for chlamydia, with only 45 cases reported for a rate of 211.8 per 100,000 population.
More densely populated counties like King and Pierce tend to have the highest rates of sexually transmitted disease, but it’s not always the case. The chlamydia rate in 2017 was 453.2 cases per 100,000 in King County, but sparsely populated Adams County in the central portion of the state had an even higher rate, 468 per 100,000, the same year. Whitman County in the southeastern part of the state had the highest chlamydia rate in 2017 at just under 917 cases per 100,000 population. Yakima County, like the others listed here, had some of the highest rates of all four diseases in the report in 2017.
The Department of Health notes that most of theses diseases are curable and those that aren’t are treatable. However, since most people infected with a sexually transmitted disease don’t show any symptoms, they often don’t both to get tested regularly. The state recommends that especially people age 25 and younger who are sexually active get tested annually.
The Department of Health has a number of resources for those who have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. In fact, they have an entire staff dedicated to assisting the public with the sensitive topic. You can find help on the department’s web site; regionally, contact southwest Washington field services consultant Katrina Miller at 360-236-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the department’s infectious disease main line at 360-236-3444.