It’s evident where the state’s biggest issues lie – with chlamydia infections, which were at 479.1 per 100,000 residents, over twenty points beyond the national average of 456.1 per 100,000. Arizona is not required to generate state reports of HIV, but the CDC provides these numbers: in 2013, there were 749 adults in the state with HIV infections, ranking the state at 18 out of 50 for that year.
This state has not historically been a healthy state when it comes to STD’s, either. In 2007, the Federal government noticed a syphilis outbreak among Native Americans in the state. As more and more cases surfaced, the CDC stepped in and began activities toward reducing cases among this population. One of the reasons for the outbreak was the fact that this group did not get regular syphilis testing; statistically, only pregnant Native American women were tested for the disease. It took the state and the CDC two years to eradicate the outbreak through treatment and prevention education methods.
Statistically, this state that must answer to a growing STD issue:
- Most sufferers are in the 20-24-year-old range
- Chlamydia is the highest ranked issue, with gonorrhea and syphilis falling behind
- The state must publish state reports only for the following: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and cancroid
- Between 2009 and 2013, Hepatitis A increased 40%, Hepatitis B decreased 33%
It is a state lacking in education, especially for school-age children. According to the CDC the state as a whole drags behind the rest of the country.
Statewide education is lacking on the most basic level hindering residents as they get older, and become more sexually active. Schools are not required to teach students how to prevent, recognize, treat, or gain more information about sexual health, STD’s, pregnancy, or any other related topics.
What’s more, the CDC reports that most schools have a policy in place to protect the privacy of HIV-infected staff and students, but still lack the resources to properly educate both staff and students on prevention.
The government health website states that educational funding for HIV and AIDS ended in 2013, but they have left informational links on their website for anyone looking for more information. The links are researched articles complying to state and federal standards to provide residents with as much information as possible. Tips include writing appropriate curriculum for teachers, and information to get parents involved in the conversation, as well as federal online sources.
The state appears to be a vastly undereducated area when it comes to STD’s, but there are other reasons why people do not get tested in this state. There are a number of indigenous tribes in the state, with Native Americans making up over 8% of the total population. These groups do not generally seek out the care of STD clinics, in fact, the aforementioned statistics prove that many don’t get checked unless they are a pregnant female. This accounts for a growing number of the state’s STD statistics.
Poverty also accounts for this state’s STD statistics. In 2015, 17.4% of people were living in poverty in this state, according to the Census Bureau. This was higher than the national average of 13.5% for the same year. Poverty combined with a lack of education leads to less people knowing about sexual health, and less people being tested statistically. Those living in poverty often do not have health insurance, and generally avoid seeing a doctor for any type of preventative care, because they believe all doctors cost money, which they don’t have.
Finally, high school drop-out rates were 74.7% in 2015. While this number is lower than the national average, it still affects STD education, leading residents to ignore sexual health. People are at higher risk for STD’s if they drop out of school, as they never have an opportunity to learn how to find the necessary resources, get help, or prevent STD’s. These reasons are among the top reasons for lacking STD testing, and they all exist here.
Whether exploring the amazing desert, buying Native American jewelry, or exploring the night life of the cities, remembering to get STD testing in Arizona is an essential part of living here. A regular test, confidential and fast, will help improve the state of Arizona’s health, and will help avoid the syphilis crisis of 2007. Taking proper care of the self through preventative check-ups at a fast and convenient lab is the first line of protection against these pesky diseases. One simple phone call will help any patient skip the long lines at the free clinics, and get on the fast track to a confidential testing facility that will only take up a short half hour or less. Make the call today!