What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You: The STD Epidemic

Obria PNW clinics offer low cost, confidential STD testing and treatment for both you and your partner. Book an appointment for STD screening at an Obria PNW Medical Clinic today.

When was the last time you were tested?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), are far more common than we’d all like to think. Research shows that about 1 in every 4 Americans has an STD.1 Most commonly spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex, STDs are transmitted from one person to another through sexual and skin to skin contact. Left untreated, STDs can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms and health complications that have the potential to endanger you, your partner, and your reproductive future.

In 2021, STD rates hit levels not seen in three decades.2 With those infected often experiencing no symptoms, the STD epidemic remains rampant as transmission continues unchecked from person to person, harming both the nation and local Washington communities. Even small towns like Port Angeles, Port Townsend, and Sequim feel the impact of this epidemic.

The good news? Many infections are treatable, and almost all are preventable through both routine testing and proper use of sexual protection. Obria PNW clinics offer low cost, confidential STD testing and treatment for both you and your partner. 

Click here to schedule your appointment for STD Testing at an Obria PNW clinic near you.

Please take a moment to educate yourself on how to protect your body and reproductive future, and consider visiting your local Obria PNW clinic today for a quick & easy STD test

What is an STD?

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis, are just a few of the 30 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites known to be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.  Though STDs are most typically passed on sexually via bodily fluids or skin to skin contact, STDs can also be transmitted from mother to child through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childbirth.3 In some cases, STDs may indicate their presence through a range of unpleasant symptoms as slight as mild itching or burning, to as severe as discharge or sores. However, very often they are asymptomatic entirely, making it impossible to tell whether they are present at all.

According to the WHO (2022), “more than 1 million sexually transmitted diseases are acquired every day worldwide, the majority of which are asymptomatic.”4 Amongst Washington communities, Obria PNW Medical Clinics have observed that cases of trichomoniasis are on the rise, and research shows only 30% of trichomoniasis patients experience any symptoms.5

Since it is often impossible to tell whether you or your partner has an STD, it is crucial for those who are sexually active to be routinely tested, especially those who take on new or multiple sexual partners.

The Mayo Clinic warns not to “assume that you’re receiving STD testing every time you have a gynecological exam or Pap test,” as STD testing is a service you must specifically request.6 According to the CDC, Pregnant women especially need to request an STD test early in their pregnancy to reduce the risk of complications.7

Schedule your appointment for STD Testing at an Obria PNW Medical Clinic today.

An Epidemic & National Crisis:

With 20 million new cases in the U.S. every year, David C. Harvey, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, has urged the STD epidemic to be labeled a national crisis.8 But what factors are playing into this epidemic?

Lack of Education & Reproductive Resources

Harvey recognizes there is “[an] extreme lack of awareness and education about STDs and sexual health,” which are significant contributors to the problem in addition to the lack of routine screening. Sexual Risk Avoidance education is more important than ever as research shows that “two-thirds of 18-year-olds have had sex, and by age 25, more than 9 in 10 people will have had sex”.9Numbers like these indicate how important it is to provide appropriate sexual education and educate the population on how to protect themselves and prevent the transmission of disease.

Locating services also presents an additional hurdle, as many are unsure of where to find clinics that offer STD screening at low to no cost.

Obria PNW clinics offer low cost & confidential STD testing to all. Click HERE to book an appointment at a clinic near you.

Cultural Shifts

We live in an increasingly digital world in which dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge have increased the likelihood of casual sexual encounters with multiple different partners. Authors Gounder & Donnelly assert that the meteoric rise of dating apps has led to more casual relationships, in which users feel less obliged to disclose sexually transmissible diseases (STDs) to one another. This is one of several factors that has propelled rates of these diseases skyward: gonorrhea infections are up 45% and syphilis is up 52% since 2016.11

The Consequences of Untreated STDs



The consequence of untreated STDs is all too often infertility via Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) & Tubal Factor Infertility (complications within the Fallopian tubes). According to Loma Linda University, PID is often due to untreated Gonorrhea or Chlamydia in which the festering infection results in “scarring of the cervix, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus.”12  The resulting damage to the Fallopian tubes then makes it difficult for either the sperm to meet the egg or the egg to travel to the uterus during implantation. This inability to conceive is referred to as Tubal Factor Infertility. 12

Left untreated, men with STDs are also subject to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Elizabeth Boskey, PhD an expert in the field of sexually transmitted diseases, acknowledges that the “complications of syphilis can also cause the obstruction of the epididymis, increasing the risk of male infertility.” 13 Again, it is important to recognize that amongst both sexes many STDs are easily cured with antibiotics, but after time permanent damage cannot be undone, which is why regular testing and early detection is crucial.

Increased Risk of HIV

Infertility is not the only risk incurred by STDs when left untreated, as infections can cause a host of other long-term health complications & can increase susceptibility to HIV. 13  Elizabeth Boskey asserts that ulcerative STDs (meaning STDs that cause open sores like herpes or syphilis) allow the HIV virus easy access into the body with sexual contact. She cautions that “for those who have vaginal or anal sex, in whom the ulcers may be internal, the risk is especially high.”13

Infant Health Complications

More than individual health is at risk as STDs can have serious consequences for both mother and child. The presence of STDs during pregnancy can increase the potential for miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth, and the risk of the infant becoming a carrier, according to the CDC.14 Congenital syphilis rates (rates of infants born with syphilis) are on the rise, with the CDC reporting an increase of 291.1% from 2015 to 2019 alone.15 As infant deaths and newborn complications increase, the effects of the STD epidemic could be crippling to the next generation.

Schedule your appointment for STD Testing at an Obria PNW Medical Clinic today.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

There are a few steps of action you can take to protect yourself and your reproductive future:

  1. Get Tested – We often don’t think of STD testing as a form of self-care, but when it comes to your body, relationships, and reproductive future, for any sexually active person, it is perhaps one of the most important habits to begin. Book an appointment for STD screening at an Obria PNW Medical Clinic today to stop the spread and become an agent of your future.
  1. Get Treated – The idea of testing positive can be terrifying and can prevent many people from getting tested. However, it must be noted that many STDs are curable including: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. Receiving treatment also stops the spread by preventing transmission to additional partners. Obria PNW Medical Clinics offer STD treatment for you and your partner. Book an appointment for STD treatment.
  1. Risk Avoidance The best forms of protection to minimize contraction are abstinence and acts of risk avoidance. Preventative measures such as the provision of proper sexual education, the development of communication skills to negotiate discussions with partners about STIs, and proper protection can go a long way in minimizing the risk of contraction. Consult your doctor about ways you can minimize STD contraction today. 

At Obria, we pride ourselves in providing Whole Care for the Whole You. If you are at risk of having an STD, ACT TODAY and book an appointment for low cost STD testing at an Obria PNW clinic near you.



  1. Snohomish Health District. (2022). Sexually transmitted diseases. Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.snohd.org/185/Sexually-Transmitted-Diseases
  2. The Guardian (2022). Out of control’: rise in STDs, including 26% syphilis spike, sparks US alarm. Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/sep/19/sexually-transmitted-disease-rise-syphilis-us
  3. Office On Women’s Health. (2022). Sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/stis-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
  4. World Health Organization (2022).Sexually transmitted infections. Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Trichomoniasis – CDC basic fact sheet. Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm
  6. The Mayo Clinic. (2022). STD testing: What’s right for you. Retrieved November 3rd from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-testing/art-20046019
  7. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). STDs during pregnancy– CDC basic fact sheet. Retrieved November 3rd from https://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/stdfact-pregnancy.htm
  8. Walker, M. (2018). Rising STD rates in U.S. signal ‘public health crisis’. Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/stds/74810
  9. Keller, L. H. (2020). Reducing STI cases: Young people deserve better sexual health information and services. Retrieved November 3rd from https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2020/04/reducing-sti-cases-young-people-deserve-better-sexual-health-information-and-services
  10. Andrews, M. (2016). Young people at risk for STDs often don’t get tested. Retrieved November 3rd fromhttps://khn.org/news/young-people-at-risk-for-stds-often-dont-get-tested-study/
  11. Gounder, C. & Donnelly, M. (2022). How dating apps could help stop the spread of sexually transmissible infections. Retrieved November 3rd from https://www.statnews.com/2022/07/18/dating-apps-help-stop-spread-sexually-transmissible-infections/
  12. Loma Linda University. (2021). STD related infertility. Retrieved November 3rd fromhttps://lomalindafertility.com/infertility/stds-and-infertility/
  13. Boskey, E. (2022). Risks associated with untreated STIs – 5 reasons why you should get screened today. Retrieved November 3rd from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-could-happen-if-i-dont-get-tested-for-stds-3132741
  14. Center for Disease Control Prevention. (2022). STDs during pregnancy – CDC detailed fact sheet.Retrieved November 3rd 2022 from https://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/stdfact-pregnancy-detailed.htm
  15. Center for Disease Control Prevention. (2021). Congenital Syphilis. Retrieved November 3rd fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/congenital-syphilis.htm