Training set after infection rate rises

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Chlamydia testing is available at the Walla Walla County Health Department, Planned Parenthood or through health care providers and at walk-in clinics.

The Health Department is at 314 W. Main St. The entrance is off Rose Street. Appointments may be made by calling 524-2650. The cost of a test, which screens for chlamydia and gonorrhea, is $50.

Planned Parenthood is at 828 S. First Ave. Appointments may be made by calling 866-904-7721. The cost is $20. The cost of a test, which screens for chlamydia and gonorrhea, is $20 for men 29 and under and women 24 and under. For people older than 30 and 25, respectively, the cost is $50, or $44 for people paying in cash the day of the test.

Chlamydia in a nutshell

Chlamydia’s initial symptoms may include a vaginal discharge or a burning sensation during urination in men and women. But the disease often has no symptoms.

It can lead to serious long-term health problems, including infertility in women.

WALLA WALLA — Reports of a common sexually transmitted infection have increased in recent years in Walla Walla County, and free sexual-health training is planned to help fight the disease’s spread.

Chlamydia, the nation’s most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection, showed up 192 times here in 2012, according to a news release from the Walla Walla County Health Department.

The number of cases reported is up 76 percent since 2004, when a marked upward climb in cases began. That year, 109 cases were reported in the county. The numbers mirror a statewide increase in the disease.

State Department of Health figures show sexually transmitted infections are rarely reported in Columbia and Garfield counties. From 2009 to 2011, only once did either county have more than five cases to report in a given year — 2010 for Columbia County, with seven chlamydia cases and one gonorrhea case.

The bacterial infection was reported more than 1.4 million times nationwide in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says only about half of chlamydia cases are reported because a lack of symptoms results in a lack of testing.

One reason for high rates in the county could be risky sexual behavior in young people due to not fully understanding the relationship between sexual activity and the transmission of infections, county special projects coordinator Janene Michaelis said in the release. In 2010, 50 percent of Walla Walla County 10th-graders reported having had sex, and of those sexually active, 20 percent reported not using a condom during their last sexual encounter.

At the county’s request, DOH educator Cynthia Morrison will conduct a sexual-health training for health care providers, school personnel and parents April 26 and 27. It is free.

For more information, call Michaelis at 509-524-2625.

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