It has become impossible to ignore the fact that the number of sexually transmitted diseases is increasing in this metro city and surrounding Collin County, and has been for over twenty years. Even though the county does not have the highest rate in the state, the number of STDs reported each year is rising and this is a problem for everyone in the city.
Over the last several years statistics show that not only are STD rates increasing in teens and young adults, but older residents are now testing positive more often. This is particularly worrisome for health care officials since this primary includes HIV and Syphilis rates.
Men over the age of thirty now have a higher risk for contracting Syphilis and HIV, and the statistics recently released by the CDC and Collin County Health Department indicate that these percentages are likely to increase. Women ages 18 to 24 are more likely to contract Chlamydia, while Gonorrhea rates are rising in young men.
It is the soaring HIV/AIDS and Syphilis rates that are drawing attention to the city’s growing problem with sexually transmitted diseases. Both of these potentially deadly infections were thought to be under control, but the recent statistics indicate that this is not the case. As long as residents do not understand how important it is to get tested for all of the STDs on a regular basis, the number of incidents reported each year will continue to rise.
Some of the statistics that highlight the growing need for regular STI testing include,
- In 2014 the HIV rate was reported at 154.5 per 100,000 residents.
- Collin County reported a Chlamydia rate of 226 per 100,000 residents, with the majority of cases occurring in young women.
- Between 2009 and 2015 the HIV rates for the county and state have nearly doubled.
Like several other states, Texas does not require its public school systems to include sex education in their curriculum. Districts that do offer sex education classes must emphasis abstinence and stress that it is the only method that will provide 100 percent protection from pregnancy and STDs.
Adding to the problem with the state’s, and subsequently the city’s sex education program is that these classes often include “shaming”. This can have a devastating effect on a teen’s self-image, and cause problems with their feelings of self-worth that can last for the rest of their lives. It is also important to note that the information being taught in the sex education program is inaccurate, and contributing to the growing number of teens and adults that test positive for a STI each year.
Refraining from sexual activity is the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancies, but it is not completely effective at stopping the spread of STDs. Many of these viruses can and are transmitted by other methods, and in some cases this can include casual contact. Regular HIV testing in Allen is important for this reason, and it is also the only way to positively detect the potentially deadly disease. The same is also true regarding regular Herpes testing in Allen since the virus can be spread through simple touch contact.
One of the leading causes for the rising STD rates in this metro city is the simple fact that most residents still believe that they could never contract a sexually transmitted disease.
The majority of residents in this affluent neighborhood are married, and this alone has many mistakenly believing that this will protect them from all of the STDs. Since many of these viruses can be transmitted without engaging in sexual activity, this belief that residents share is actually putting them at risk.
If they do not understand how STDs are transmitted then they cannot take the appropriate steps they need to protect themselves and their families. Lack of conversation at home and outdated sex education programs are making it almost impossible for teens and young adults to get the information they need, and when “shaming” is added to the schools’ health classes very few students feel like they have anyone to talk to if there is a problem.
The few community clinics that are located in the city often have long lines and crowded waiting rooms, and this is also contributing to the ongoing STD problem. Not only can it be difficult for busy professionals and parents to find the time to get tested, most are simply too embarrassed to stand in line next to other residents. The shame associated with STDs is making it almost impossible for health care officials to convince residents of the importance of regular STI testing.
Before you head into the city for a day of shopping or an afternoon game it is important that you take a few minutes and think about your sexual health. STD rates are climbing, and everyone is potentially at risk. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in a long line, and now you don’t have to. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab. It is a quick and easy way to take care of your sexual health, and best of all it is also private.