Nicknamed the City of Subdued Excitement, Bellingham may be due for a new label. With sexually transmitted diseases hitting record rates all throughout the state of Washington, Whatcom County is no exception. The data shows that the highest amount of newly reported STDs were found in people younger than the age of 25. The outbreak of chlamydia is reportedly higher in females (especially those between the ages of 20 and 24); while males make up the majority of gonorrhea cases.
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the Bellingham area. The total reported instances went up by 16 for a total of 708 in 2017.
That increase puts the rate at 327.3 per 100,000 people. Because chlamydia presents with mild to no symptoms, health officials are urging sexually active people to get tested more regularly. Left untreated, STDs can cause more serious infections—particularly dangerous for pregnant women.
The rate of gonorrhea cases spiked from 48 in every 100,000 people to 68 per 100,000. Reports of herpes also on the rise with a rate of 24.5 for every 100,000. Meanwhile, syphilis dropped by two cases, but the numbers were too low to calculate a new rate. Public health supervisors for Whatcom County’s Health Department for Communicable Diseases encourage getting tested, practicing better sexual partner communication, and proper use of barrier methods such as condoms to avoid contracting potential STIs.
One clinic option available is Planned Parenthood located at the Bellingham Health Center on Ellis St. They offer testing for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C. While it is not free STD testing they do offer affordable fees based on your household income, so bring proof of income when you visit.
To find the best services and location for you, use our search tools below to compare location features across Bellingham clinics with our easy-to-read chart.