STD rates are high enough to warrant concern and the need for action. Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, Hepatitis B and C and Gonorrhea cases have been reported by county health department professionals. The sexual health of the residents who are in high risk categories is in peril. The best advice is for people in at risk groups to get tested. STD testing clinics offer private and confidential services and are standing by along with free centers for low income clients. Ordering testing is easy and it only takes a 15 minute visit to a local clinic to complete testing for fast results.
Staff at the Center for Disease Control work with health departments around the country to collect data about STD testing, results and important demographic information about the clients. They only gather information that can be useful in determining who is at the greatest risk. All clients are protected by strict rules and regulations that prohibit any infringement on their privacy and confidentiality.
The data collected includes testing type, results, age, gender, ethnicity and financial status of each client tested. No personally identifying information is given out so the testing process is totally confidential and private. The following statistics show the rates of infection for certain STD types per 100,000 in population in this region.
- Gonorrhea- 99.5
- Syphilis (all types)- 4.2
- Chlamydia- 395.6
The statistics have remained fairly consistent over the past decade with ups and downs. The most noticeable trend observed is that Chlamydia remains the predominant type of STD with far higher rates than the others. Women have twice the numbers as men do and of men, those who join in male to male sex have the higher rates. In regard to ethnicity, Blacks, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hispanics, in this order have the highest rates of infection. Those in the 20 to 24 age group rank number one in risk followed by those age 15 to 19.
It is believed that the majority of people in high risk categories have yet to get tested. The statistics only refer to those who have completed the testing process. It is believed that the rates will increase as more people realize their risk and complete the process. Poverty is an obstacle which keeps people from seeking out testing and treatment. Many are not aware of the resources that are available. They may not have the personal funding for testing fees or for medical care. Some do not understand how dangerous the situation actually is because they lack the education and are unaware of the need for safe sex practices.
The solution to this problem lies in getting information about safe sex practices along with the risk factors for getting an STD into the hands of those who need it the most. Mandatory sex education courses in the public schools helps to reach some of these populations before they reach adulthood. Students learn about the potential consequences of unprotected sex including unwanted pregnancy and STD infection along with sign, symptoms and the resources that they can use if they do suspect an STD. They know where they can get a Herpes test or HIV testing. This practice has been ongoing for several years and the rates for teenagers has not significantly dropped, indicating that new strategies need to be implemented with those already in place.
Pregnant women are tested for STDs when they go in for prenatal care. This does help to prevent the number of babies being still-born or born with disabilities because the parent was infected and not treated. This strategy has helped to reduce the number of infections that are passed on from parent to child, but hasn’t completely solved the problem.
The statistics show that ethnicity, age, financial status and gender are factors used to calculate risk. This is what is currently known. Populations with the highest infection rates across the board are Blacks, Native Americans/Alaskan Indians and Hispanics. These trends have become more pronounced through the past decade of tracking and analysis as an upward rising trend. Women are diagnosed with Chlamydia, which is the most predominantly seen time at two to three times the frequency as men. Men have higher rates of Gonorrhea and Syphilis infection that women do and men who have male to male sex are at the greatest risk for Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV and Chlamydia.
Reducing the STD rate in Allentown is going to take a group effort. The CDC is giving us the information that we need, now it is time to use it to take action. Everyone needs to help spread the word about safe sex and ways to prevent getting an STD. If you are at any risk at all, you need to get tested. It won’t take much of your time. Ordering testing is so easy. Follow up with a 15 minute visit to a local lab where friendly technicians will help you complete the process.
When you arrive you’ll find that great measures are taken to preserve your privacy and confidentiality. Someone will be on hand to answer any questions that you have and they’ll treat you with respect and professionalism. You’ll be in and out very quickly and will have a feeling of relief to know that your results are on their way. If everyone in need of testing would do this, there would no longer be a problem with STDs.