With the release of the latest statistics from the CDC, it is impossible for city leaders to ignore the rising STD rate.
According to the data the capital city is not only seeing the number of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents increasing, but Syphilis and HIV diagnoses are also increasing in frequency. From 2011 to 2016 the rate for HIV per 100,000 residents increased from 404 to 430. The statistics also show that this potentially deadly virus is affecting residents off all ages and ethnicities.
Even though city health officials expected the Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates to be high in teens and young adults, they were surprised by the growing number of chronic Hepatitis B incidents. In 2014 there were 77 cases reported, and since this disease is easy to spread these numbers are expected to rise.
Syphilis incidents are increasing in older men, and this also means that they are at risk for contracting the other STDs. With the number of reported cases rising it is important that everyone understands how important regular STD testing is for good sexual health.
- In 2015 there were 1580 cases of Chlamydia reported in the county, along with 302 Gonorrhea incidents.
- Over 60 percent of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections occurred in teens and young adults, with the majority reported in African Americans.
- 77 cases of chronic Hepatitis B were reported in 2015.
- The CDC reported 37 new cases of HIV and 39 Syphilis incidents in 2015 alone.
In 2012 an independent study found that the sex education programs currently being offered in the public school systems do not contain the information students need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
The study also found that the information included varies in the schools, and that it is not always pertinent to the problems teens are facing nor is it accurate. This is putting students’ health at risk and that of their families. One public school has even excluded all mentions of female genitalia from its sex education program choosing to refer to it as a “sperm deposit” instead.
While some parents and educators do find this degrading, currently there are not any steps being taken to change the way sex education is handled in the city’s schools.
Students are encouraged to practice abstinence, and it is not uncommon for educators to make those who are sexually active feel ashamed and embarrassed. Since the proper use of contraceptives is not covered in the programs, most teens are unaware of any risks or dangers their behavior might be putting them in. When all of this is combined it is not hard to see why the STD rate among teens and young adults is so high in the capital city.
The current sex education programs also do not cover the importance of regular Herpes testing in Albany, even though the virus is increasing in frequency in the public schools. Regular HIV testing in Albany is also not discussed, and many health officials are blaming this on the increasing number of residents who are contracting the disease each year.
This capital city has a diverse population and this is contributing to the skyrocketing STD rate. Various cultural and religious beliefs is making it difficult for health officials to stress the importance of regular STI testing, but this is not the only reason the city has such a high rate for sexually transmitted diseases.
The main contributing factor is the lack of available information, along with the fact that some of it is not even accurate. Very few schools include any information on the importance or proper use of contraceptives, and discussions on regular testing is excluded from the programs. Some do not even employ medically accurate terms, and this often leads to confusion among students.
Many teens do not even realize that their behavior is putting their sexual health at risk. Since most teens and young adults do not even know how STDs are spread the health of those around them is also at risk.
In the last few years the state and capital city have also been forced to cut funding that was earmarked for community clinics and health centers, and this has left many residents without a place to go for regular testing. The clinics that are still open frequently have long lines and this can make it difficult for residents to find time in their busy schedules to spend the day at the clinic.
Until these and other problems are resolved the city will continue to have a problem with high STD rates.
Before heading off for a day of shopping or to tour the magnificent state capital building it is important to take a few minutes and consider your sexual health. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the whole day standing in line at an STI clinic, and now there is a faster and easier way for you to get the health care that you need. You can schedule confidential STD testing with one phone call and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab, this way you can take care of your sexual health and still have plenty of time to explore the city.