Benton-Franklin Health District

7102 W Okanogan Pl,

Kennewick, WA, 99336.

(509) 460-4200

Offering services for individuals facing financial difficulties or lacking insurance.

Mondays - Friday 8am-5pm

Please call to schedule an appointment .

Every Wednesday is walk-in friendly, so feel free to drop by without an appointment.

Pregnancy Considerations:

Why is STI Screening important as prenatal care?

·         Common STI’s such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia can be potentially harmful to the developing baby.

·         Some STI’s are completely asymptomatic. Even if you are not having symptoms of an STI you could still be infected. Testing is the only way to be sure about your STI status.

When Should You Test?

·         STI testing should occur at the first prenatal visit, at the 3rd trimester of pregnancy (28 weeks), and immediately following delivery.


·         Syphilis is a disease that exist in multiple stages (Primary, Secondary, Early Latent, Latent, and Tertiary).

·         Syphilis is transmittable to the developing baby at ANY STAGE due to vertical transmission.

·         When a mother passes the infection on to their baby during pregnancy this is called congenital syphilis

Vertical Transmission:

·         Vertical Transmission is when a disease is transferred to the baby from the mother in utero.

·         Vertical transmission of syphilis can happen BEFORE birth occurs. This is due to sharing blood while developing in the womb via the placenta.

Congenital Syphilis:

·         Congenital syphilis is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy.

·         Cases have starkly increased since 2022

·         Untreated syphilis in pregnant individuals can lead to very serious birth complications such as still birth, low-birth weight, pre-mature birth. Babys born untreated can develop, deformed bones, severe anemia (low blood count), enlarged liver and spleen, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), brain and nerve problems, like blindness or deafness, skin rashes, and seizure possibly leading to death.

·         Congenital Syphilis is a medical emergency and requires antibiotic treatment.

·         Not all babies born with congenital syphilis have symptoms, but symptoms can appear during the first few weeks of birth.

Gonorrhea & Chlamydia:

·         Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections if left untreated can lead to infertility. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea also place you at increased risk of ectopic pregnancy a life-threatening medical emergency.

·         Untreated chlamydial infections in pregnancy can lead to preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, and low birth weight.

o   The newborn may also become infected during delivery as the baby passes through the birth canal. Exposed newborns can develop eye and lung infections.

·         Untreated gonococcal infection in pregnancy can lead to miscarriages, premature birth and low birth weight, premature rupture of membranes, and chorioamnionitis.

o   Gonorrhea can be transmitted from the mother to the baby during delivery. If not addressed the baby may develop an eye infection.

How do you test?

·         Testing should occur at your first prenatal visit with you OB/GYN.

·         Testing can also be done within the community at places like planned parenthood.

·         Testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV are available at Benton-Franklin Health District. At no cost for those without insurance or who are underinsured. Treatment is also available to those found to be infected with Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis.