A disturbing trend is sweeping the arena of sexually transmitted disease.
2015 was the second year in a row where rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were up, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Traditionally the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases are in the 14- to 25-year-old age group, according to Dr. Shelly Gilroy, an infectious disease specialist, who specializes in the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. But over the past few years, those rates have climbed.
Washington state’s STD rates mirror national figures, with increases through 2014 and 2015. Those increases are disproportionately higher in young women aged 15 to 24 years old, though this is believed to be the result of young men not getting tested.
"Most of them are having unprotected sex with multiple partners and concurrent partners," said Gilroy.
Some studies blame the rise of increased use of dating apps opening the door to more, anonymous sex.
Gilroy agrees and notes the improved treatment of HIV has reduced the fear of contracting that disease.
No matter the cause, public health officials say, it's got to be addressed because STDs can cause lasting health problems.
Women can develop a pelvic inflammatory disease which increases infertility and having an ectopic pregnancy.
Men also face enduring health problems from vision loss to cancers, particularly when human papillomavirus virus is involved. HPV has also been linked to an increase in oral cancers.
Moreover, gonorrhea and syphilis can be transmitted by oral sex and lead to infection beyond the throat.
That's because there may not be symptoms, initially, or the symptoms are ignored.
"So you might think it's a strep infection, and if you don’t see the doctor, and you don’t get tested, it can go away on its own, but later on it can come back, and it can be a more severe infection if you don't get treated," said Gilroy.
Bottom line, you can't tell if a person has an STD by looking at them, Gilroy says.
So before starting a sexual relationship know your STD and HIV status and have your partner do the same, keep the relationship monogamous, and if you're going to have multiple partners, use a condom every time.