Statistics that were recently released indicate that Akron and surrounding Summit County are currently seeing an increase in the number of reported sexually transmitted infections, and the data seems to show that this trend has been occurring for the past twenty years.
As the fifth largest city in the state health officials expected high rates, but were not prepared for the rapid increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases that are being reported each year. Not only are more teens and young adults testing positive for a STI, but older residents are also contracting a transmittable virus more often.
The recent statistics show that it is not only incidents rates for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea that are on the rise, but the number of reported cases of primary and secondary Syphilis are also increasing. This is especially alarming to health officials who believed that Syphilis infections were under control, but now it seems that this potentially deadly disease is making a come-back in the city’s older citizens.
Some of the statistics that seem to indicate the growing health problem in Akron and surrounding Summit County include;
- In 2009 the number of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections was reported at 431.9 and rose to 580.1 by the end of 2010.
- The reported incident rate for Chlamydia in 2012 was 421.5 compared to the state average of 445.7.
- There were 41 new diagnoses of HIV in the county in 2009.
- As of 2009 it was reported that 652 residents had been diagnosed and were living with HIV/AIDS.
Studies have shown that the best way to prevent STDs from spreading is to educate the public on the importance of regular testing. Without this information Akron can expect to see its STD rates continue to increase.
Currently the city follows the state and federally recommended abstinence only based curriculum which leaves out information regarding safe sex and STD testing. While the abstinence preferred program does help lower teen pregnancy rates in some areas, it does nothing to slow the spread of sexually transmitted infections. When this information is not taught in the classroom students and many parents do not realize that they are already at risk for contracting a STD.
Not all transmitted diseases are spread solely through penetration during intercourse, which means it is possible to contract one even if you are not active sexually. Adding to the risk is the fact that not all STDs display immediate symptoms making it possible to infect someone unknowingly. Without comprehensive sexual education programs in place in the classrooms, teens and adults will not understand how important it is to get tested on a regular basis.
Regular Herpes testing in Akron can help stop the spread of the virus, and it can even prevent some future flare-ups. Regular HIV testing in Akron is also vital for your continued good health, and the simple procedure could potentially save your life.
The demographical makeup of a region plays an important role in its STD rates and this includes social and economic factors, as well as age and gender.
Conservative values are making it difficult for health officials to implement sexual education programs in the classroom, along with ensuring funding for community clinics and centers. The strong conservative beliefs also carry over into the religious community, which has resulted in teens and young adults having very little guidance when they are dealing with puberty and their sexuality. This is having an effect on the STD rates, as more teens begin to experiment sexually, without using protection.
The lack of funding and available clinics is also impacting lower income neighborhoods in the city. Already experiencing difficulties in being able to afford adequate health care, it is now even harder for these residents to find treatment. Stereotypes that surround many of the STDs can also make it difficult for some people to admit that they might need to get tested, especially younger men.
Teenage girls and young women often find it difficult to say “no”, which is contributing to the high birth rate among high school students. This same risky behavior is also increasing their chances of contracting an STD, which is why young girls are in the highest risk group.
Senior citizens are staying healthy and sexually active longer, which is also increasing their chances of contracting an STD. Until everyone in the city understands the importance of getting tested regularly, health officials can expect to see infection rates continue to rise.
Before you plan to spend the day at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens it is important that you take a few minutes to take care of your sexual health. The simple test only takes a few minutes, and with the rising STD rates it could potentially save your life. There are a few community health clinics in the city but the long lines and fear of potentially running into a familiar face has many people looking for a more convenient option. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one quick and easy phone call and only spend 20 minutes or so at a local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to catch a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad.