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County Health Department offers free treatment to STD sufferers

STD rates skyrocket in Klickitat County


Margaret Pillon, communicable disease nurse at the Klickitat County Health Department, has reported an increase in the 2014 sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates for Klickitat County.

“In 2014 gonorrhea rates increased 300 percent,” she reported. “Chlamydia rates increased 67 percent, and syphilis has doubled. Most of the cases of chlamydia are in the age 24 and under range. There seem to be more cases in the Goldendale area versus the White Salmon area.”

The symptoms of chlamydia can be mild or absent for up to a year, so people are not coming in for testing until they have symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, they may have had new partners, and their last partner may have also have had a new partner.

Long-term side effects are dire for women, including an increased chance of a miscarriage and tubal scarring, which leads to increased chances of a tubal pregnancy and infertility.

For men, symptoms may include swelling and pain.

Terry Rundell, nurse practitioner at the Health Department, states, “Because of the high incidence rate in young people, we routinely test everyone under age 25 who comes in for family planning or STD services.”

At the Health Department, fees are set according to client income. Private insurance companies and Medicaid can be billed. Free testing can be done confidentially and not be billed to insurance if confidentiality is needed.

“We can treat the partners of our positive clients free,” Rundell says, “but the person who tested positive does not always tell us of all of the people that need to be treated or know their contact information.”

As part of the plan to combat this issue, the Health Department will treat anyone who has tested positive by the Health Department and treat their partner at no charge through the SafetyNet or STD/EPT (expedited partner treatment) program.

For a testing appointment, call your local medical provider or the Health Department at 773-4565 in Goldendale and (509) 493-1558 in White Salmon.


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