Published March 23, 2020 Written by Testing.com Editorial Staff
The number of reported STD cases is on the rise. According to data published in the CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2018 report, the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region has some of the highest numbers of STDs in the state.
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In Portland, as in the rest of the nation, the three most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. All three of these diseases have experienced significant increases in prevalence in recent years.
In 2018, there were 19,224 reported chlamydia cases in Oregon, which corresponds to a rate of 464.0 per 100,000 people. Of these cases, 11,830 were diagnosed in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region. The rate of chlamydia in this region is 482.2, which is an increase of 3% over the previous year and a 22% increase over the rate reported in 2014. Females are disproportionately affected by this infection, accounting for 62% of reported cases in 2018.
Cases of Chlamydia by Age Group and Gender, 2018
In the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region, there were 4,238 reported cases of gonorrhea in 2018. This corresponds to a rate of 172.8 per 100,000 people, which is a little lower than the national rate of 179.1 and considerably higher than the state rate of 142.7. Over time, the number of reported cases in this region has increased. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of reported cases increased by 183%, and between 2017 and 2018, it increased by 23%. While most cases are diagnosed in males, this infection has become increasingly common in females over the past few years. In 2014, females accounted for just 25% of reported cases. In 2018, 35% of cases were in females.
In 2018, there were 424 reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis in Oregon. Of these cases, 300 were in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region, and all but 37 of the cases were diagnosed in males. However, the number of reported cases in females increased by nearly 20% over the number reported in 2017 and by 311% over the number reported in 2014.
In many cases, STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, have no symptoms, and the only way to detect and treat them is through regular screening. Left untreated, STDs are more likely to be passed on to a partner and can cause serious long-term complications, such as infertility, certain types of cancer, a higher risk of HIV, and heart disease. Portland is home to many clinics and organizations that provide free or low-cost testing and treatment, making sexual and reproductive health service convenient and accessible.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain one of the most critical public health challenges facing the United States, with approximately 26 million new STD infections occurring every year. Nearly half of these new infections affect young people ages 15 to 24.
Community-based organizations are a vital first line of defense in the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS in particular. They generate awareness and foster social change while providing access to testing and treatment.
You may not be aware of all the STD resources available in Portland that can help prevent the spread of STDs. Get connected with these community organizations that are leading the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS with resources and support:
Pivot, which is located in Prism Health, provides free on-site HIV and full-panel STD screenings to the LGBTQAI+ community. STDs that clients are screened for include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Those who test positive for an STD are referred to the Multnomah County STD Clinic or Prism Health Belmont for treatment. HIV-positive clients can also receive PrEP at this location. The clinic is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and clients are seen on a walk-in basis.
CAP is the region’s largest community-based provider of HIV services and has been serving the communities or Oregon and SW Washington for over three decades. It provides an array of services, including housing, medical case management, primary care, mental health insurance, and screening for STDs and HIV. STDs that the organization screens for include HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. While its offerings are oriented towards those in the LGBTQAI+ community, anyone can receive services. All testing is confidential and free, and services are provided on a walk-in basis. Those who test positive for an STD are referred to a local health care provider for treatment.
520 NW Davis St., Ste. 215 Portland, OR 97209 503-223-5907 Capnw.org
AFC NW Portland Urgent Care
NW Portland Urgent Care is a walk-in clinic that provides affordable on-site lab services, primary care, annual wellness exams, vaccines, and STD testing. Clients may choose to be tested for just one STD, particularly if they have certain symptoms or want to determine if an STD cleared after treatment, or they may choose to have a comprehensive panel done. Some STDs are tested through physical exams, and others are tested through blood or fluid samples. This clinic is located in the Uptown Shopping Center and is open seven days per week.
Outside In is a health care and social services nonprofit that seeks to remove barriers to mental, medical, and supportive programs for underserved populations, including people of color, those experiencing homelessness, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It operates two health clinics that serve adults and adolescents, providing routine primary care, disease prevention and management, and HIV/STD/HepC testing and treatment. Outside In is also offering COVID-19 vaccinations as well. Patients can book an appointment ahead of time or receive care on a walk-in basis. The clinic accepts most health insurance plans and has staff available to help patients sign up for the Oregon Health Plan. No one is turned away due to inability to pay. Adolescents aged 13-14 must be accompanied by a guardian.
SE Portland Health Center is operated by Planned Parenthood and offers a range of health services, including birth control, HIV testing, gender-specific health care, and STD testing and treatment. STDs the clinic screens for include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HIV, and testing is performed via physical exam or blood or fluid sample. Staff members speak English and Spanish, and interpretation by telephone is available for other languages. The clinic accepts most insurance plans, and sliding fee schedules are available for self-pay clients. To schedule an appointment, clients can use the online booking tool or call the clinic during business hours.