While there are plenty of opportunities for fun and games in the area, a more serious issue has caught the attention of local health authorities. STD infection rates are high and on the rise. Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, Hepatitis B and C and Gonorrhea cases are being monitored by county health department professionals. The sexual health of the city is at some peril for residents who are in high risk categories. The solution is for people in these groups to get tested. Private STD testing clinics are standing by along with free centers for low income clients, to offer these vital services. Ordering testing is easy and it only takes a 15 to 20 minute visit to a local clinic to finish the process.
The Center for Disease Control is diligent in maintaining statistics for each state, county and metropolitan area in the country. They gather data from each region for inclusion in a nationwide database that shows STD rates for each area. A joint effort between local health departments and health care providers makes it possible to include the number of tests administered with particulars including 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- 105.6
- Syphilis (all types)- 8.8
- Chlamydia- 502.8
New York stands at number eleven in order of ranking for the highest Chlaydia rates in the country. It ranks 22nd for Gonorrhea cases and a disconcerting 6th for primary and secondary Syphilis. These vital reports are only made possible by the cooperation of local community health providers who understand the need to curb the spread of these diseases which are reaching near epidemic proportions.
CDC analysts make assumptions which are based on education and fact finding. It is strongly believed that the STD infection rates would show a sharp increase if everyone in high risk categories would get tested. Part of the problem with the alarming spread is that the people who need it the most are either unaware of their peril, or lack the resources to get testing and treatment. People from financially disadvantaged backgrounds are at the highest risk because of fewer resources and a lack of education about sexual health. There is a tendency for them to be unaware of prevention methods and the resources that are at hand to help them.
Reaching at risk populations with solid information and referrals to available help is the challenge currently at hand. Some things that are being done include mandatory sex ed courses in the public schools. 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.
All pregnant women are routinely screened for STDs when they go in for their prenatal care. This is a national standard to help prevent the incidences 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 has not eradicated them totally.
The stats show that ethnicity, age, financial status and gender have some bearing on risk. 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.
This is a problem that needs to be solved quickly and it will take the full cooperation of everyone in the nation. Getting tested is a good place to start. It is easy to order your testing and it doesn’t take but a few moments of your time to visit a local lab to finish the process. Friendly lab staff are there to help you with completely private and confidential testing with fast results so you will know where you stand. They are happy to answer any questions that you may have and quickly get you on your way to enjoy the rest of your day. If finances are an issue, there are free testing centers that will help you with your testing at free or reduced rates, depending on your ability to pay. Don’t let fear or a lack of information stop you from protecting your sexual health. You can join forces with the thousands of health professionals and community activists who are trying to maintain and preserve the health of this amazing city. Be part of the answer to the problem and get tested today.