Breaking news from the department of unprotected sex: Gonorrhea infections in Washington are up by more than one-third this year, causing gonorrhea outbreaks in several counties. "There have been 3,137 cases through September 2013 compared to 2,350 during the same time in 2012," reports the state health department. That’s a 34 percent increase, making it the second most common (dare I say popular?) sexually transmitted disease in Washington after chlamydia.
Eeeesh. To refresh all your memories, gonorrhea—colloquially known as the clap—is spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, and is often asymptomatic, which is especially troubling because if untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and an increased likelihood of HIV transmission. When symptoms are present, they often include painful urination and discharge.
More from a state health department press release:
Rates have been going up steadily since 2010. Department of Health experts haven’t been able to attribute a specific cause to the uptick. The jump has occurred among men and women in most age groups, but young adults remain the most affected. Rural and urban counties across Eastern and Western Washington have reported a climb in cases. However, several counties have seen more dramatic upswings, including Spokane, Yakima, Thurston, Kitsap and Benton counties, which are at outbreak levels.
Despite that ominous talk of outbreaks, the department of health notes that "Washington rates are still well below the national average."
Still, for the love of your untainted junk, wear condoms and get tested regularly. Or, you know, practice "mutual monogamy and abstinence," as the state health department also helpfully suggests.