STI’s in Seattle

(Originally posted on my website on 7-1-09)

According to Forbes in 2007, Seattle was the fourth Most Lustful city in the country.  Of course they figured this out by tracking nationwide contraceptive purchases, which doesn’t truly paint the whole picture.  What that tells us is that Seattlites buy more condoms than folks in many other cities around the country.  But what else does it tell us about Seattle’s sexual health?

 Seattle has also been heralded as one of the most educated (or over-educated, depending on your perspective) cities in the country.  Perhaps that level of education has more to do with condom purchases than the reality of Seattlites having more sex than most everyone else.  And with all of that education, what do Seattle residents truly know about their sexual health, contraceptives, and STI prevention? 

 Right now, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis infections are on the rise nationwide, as well as in the Seattle area.  In fact, sexually active Seattlites have a 1 in 4 chance of being infected, especially if you are under the age of 25.  All three of these infections are sexually transmitted and preventable if condoms are used.  Despite the fact that you may be taking precautions to prevent pregnancy with birth control pills or other barrier methods, there is no way to prevent sexually transmitted infections other than abstinence or condoms.  Perhaps folks have become more cavalier about these infections because of the attention and gravity of HIV; perhaps it is because Seattlites also know that all three of these infections are easy to test for and treatable with antibiotics. 

 What Seattle residents should also know is that gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis infections can manifest with very obvious symptoms, and they can also be incredibly insidious.  It is not always obvious when looking at your new partner, or even at yourself, whether there is an infection present.  These three STI’s have the potential to go ‘underground’ in our bodies and create antibiotic resistance, infertility, or neurological issues. 

 Luckily, we have fantastic resources in this city such as Planned Parenthood of Western Washington and Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers, where Seattle area residents can access testing and treatment, as well as plenty of condoms. 

 So keep yourself safe, use condoms, and make Seattle proud.

For more resources on STI’s and where to find Dr. Sunita, please visit

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