STD Test Statistics for Coconino
According to statistics released by the CDC and Coconino County Health Department the STD rates for the area are increasing, and have been for the past twenty years.
The county is seeing a steady rise in the number of Chlamydia incidents reported each year. The same is also true regarding Gonorrhea, Herpes and even HPV in young men. Even the number of Hepatitis C cases reported annually is rising, though many health officials believe that this is due to improvements in detecting this transmittable virus. Many older adults are finding out that they are “silent carriers” of the transmittable virus, and have been for years.
Chlamydia incidents in women ages 18 to 24 are among those with the highest infection rate. Even though young women are also seeing a slight spike in Gonorrhea incidents, it is men under the age of 25 that are testing positive for this sexually transmitted infection more often. Guys are also at an increased risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and the same is unfortunately true regarding Syphilis infections.
There is some good news for the county. The number of HIV cases reported annually in older men is decreasing. The same is also true for women. Unfortunately this demographic is where the majority of all infectious Syphilis incidents are occurring. Hispanic and African American males are among those with the greatest risk, though the infectious virus can affect anyone regardless of age or ethnicity.
- In 2015 the Chlamydia rate for the county was 641.6 per 100,000 residents, compared to the state average of 469.6
- Women 18 to 24 accounted for over 70 percent of the Chlamydia cases reported in 2015.
- The county reported a Gonorrhea rate of 80.3 per 100,000 residents in 2015.
STD Testing and Sex Education
Public schools in Arizona are required to teach comprehensive sex education, though if a new bill passes this might soon change. The material currently required must be medically accurate, even if abstinence is encouraged. The proposed changes to the current sex education policy would remove all information concerning sexuality, and this would mean that some high school students would be “left out of the conversation”. Students not having access to the information they need is being touted as one of the reasons for the rising STD rates among teenagers.
Studies have shown that the majority of high school students have engaged in sexual activity at least once before graduation. This shows that simply encouraging abstinence is doing very little to dissuade teenagers from experimenting with sex. If they do not fully understand the risks and dangers associated with being sexually active, then it is almost impossible for teens to protect themselves from the common STDs.
It is not uncommon for teens to not understand how important it is to always use protection during intercourse. Most do not even know that STDs can be spread without engaging in sexual activity. Until this changes educators can expect to see the STD rates among teens continue to rise.
Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections
Simply stressing the importance of regular Herpes testing in Coconino is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of this virus throughout area high schools. Regular HIV testing in Coconino is also important, especially now that the rates are rising in older adults.
STD Testing and Demographics
There are several factors that are causing the STD rates to rise in the county, but the main one remains the lack of comprehensive sex education in all public schools. Simply educating teens on the risks associated with STDs and ensuring that they know how to protect themselves will go a long way towards lowering the infection rates.
Recent economic problems are also contributing to the rising STD rates, and even though the financial crisis has passed the resulting issues still have not been resolved. Due to lack of funding many STI centers were forced to close their doors. Now that the economic crisis has passed funding has not been restored to the community health facilities located in the county. This is making it difficult for many residents to find a convenient place to be tested. Adding to their inconvenience are the long lines and crowded waiting rooms.
Many residents on a fixed income are also finding it harder to afford to take care of their sexual health now the STD testing is no longer covered under Medicaid. When all of this is combined, it is easy to see why the sexually transmitted disease rates continue to rise.
Until these and other contributing factors are resolved, the county can expect to see the number of new STD cases reported each year continue to increase.
STD Testing for Better Sexual Health
Even though exploring the nearby canyons is preferable to standing in line at a STI clinic, it is still important to take care of your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that regular testing should be a part of your health care routine. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in line, and now there is a faster and easier way to be tested. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab. This way you still have plenty of time to explore Meteor Crater.