The Aug. 6 Columbian story “Syphilis rise alarms county health officials,” regarding the recent increase in syphilis cases in Clark County, provided much useful information. There was a clear description of the signs, symptoms, stages, and treatment of this ancient disease, which is totally curable if caught in the earlier stages.
However, the story contained no information about local resources for testing and treatment. The most likely reason for this is that such services are very limited. Per the Clark County Center for Community Health website, Clark County public health no longer provides any sexually transmitted disease testing, except for HIV. They apparently refer clients to their private medical providers, which charge on a sliding fee scale, or to clinics in Multnomah County, Ore.
The lack of local access to prompt affordable and confidential testing, treatment, and follow-up for syphilis and other STDs is may be one reason for the recent increase in number of syphilis cases in our county.
As a community, we can and should do better.