STD Crisis Outbreak

Claire Gosson, Lacey Joseph , and

Health officials have recently raised alarm about the STD crisis in the United States. Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis have risen significantly resulting in 2.4 million infections diagnosed this last year alone. Since the monitoring started in the US, this has been the most cases ever to be recorded. These incidences of STDs come with serious consequences such as infertility, drug-resistant gonorrhea and congenital syphilis, which can cause infant death. Gonorrhea rates alone have been at historic lows in recent studies and syphilis was close to being eliminated. The number of gonorrhea rates is now increasing dramatically after being largely on the decline. Reports tend to be highest among adolescents and young adults and the STD cases vary depending on where the individual lives. New CDC reports call for federal state and local agencies to implement strategies that reduce STD incidence and help to improve sexual, reproductive, maternal and infant health. 


Beth Harnell, a secretary the Rex Putnam health and wellness center was asked about the STD crisis in North Clackamas School District. Harnell was questioned whether or not she believes that the STD crisis is affecting our community. She replied, “Well, right now I think it’s getting better. You’ve seen a drastic drop in positive tests, over the last year, at least in this area…hopefully, it’s making people more aware and getting tested more often. Harnell was then asked whether or not she believes the community is aware of the percentage of STDs that have grown. Harnell responded, “I doubt it… I wasn’t aware until about two years ago when they did a study and we had kind of a meeting on it and I was pretty surprised that the amount of positive tests that at least in Clackamas was very high.” In the conclusion of the interview, she was asked why reports tend to be higher among adolescents and young adults. Harnell responded, “I think because they tend to be a little bit more careless in that department and a lot of schools, not this school but in a lot of schools, kids don’t have access to get tested. If they aren’t getting tested, then they don’t have time even to know that they have it and it just keeps spreading.”    


Tiffany Bartholomew, a senior at Rex Putnam High School was interviewed about the impact of STDs in North Clackamas School District. Bartholomew was asked whether the community of North Clackamas School District was aware of the recent spike of students being diagnosed with STDs. She responded, “No. I would say that no one talks about STDs anymore. It’s brought up in health class and brought up as a joke. It’s like normalized almost.” She was then asked whether or not she thinks that condom usage has decreased over the years. Bartholomew states, “No. I feel like it is a common thing to use a condom and another form of birth control.” Statistics have shown that the use of a condom during sexual experience has increased from 46.2 percent to 62.8 percent between 1991 and 2005 but then decreased from 62.8 percent to 53.8 percent between 2005 and 2017. Studies have conveyed that many of the infections that occur aren’t getting diagnosed or treated. Bartholomew was asked if she felt the increase in STD cases has directly impacted North Clackamas School District’s community. She replied, “I don’t think students are aware enough because we are constantly getting fed inaccurate information. This is because of fake news on social media. More adults tend to read articles instead of the teens which are the ones who are most impacted by STDs.”