While Arlington has demonstrated a drop in the cases of sexually transmitted diseases over the past 10 years, the Center for Disease Control has revealed a startling trend- STD cases are once more rising across the country. The people most at risk are people ages 14-20, females of child-bearing age and men that have had sexual relations with other men.
The Arlington, VA area has historically had a lower rate of STDs, however, you should not let your guard down. Sexually active adults should be tested regularly even if they haven’t shown symptoms of infection.
- 86% of HIV and TES co-infections are among MSM.
- Black women ages 20 to 29 have the highest rate of chlamydia of any age and race group.
- Black men ages 20 to 29 have the highest rate of early syphilis of any age and race group.
- Black persons represent less than 20% of the population but makeup 63% of gonorrhea cases.
The Virginia Education Code requires schools to teach Family Life Education. This program is an abstinence-focused program that is set by the school board. The program is a comprehensive program that strives to prove coping mechanisms for teens against peer-pressure and the stress of modern living. The goal is to prevent STDs and teen pregnancy.
Is this enough to help prevent STD and teen pregnancy?
If the CDC stats have anything to indicate. Yes and no. Teen pregnancy has dropped over the years in Virginia. However, teens remain the most vulnerable age group to STD infection.
Teen births are an indicator of the sexual activity of teens. Even though teen pregnancies have dropped, young people are still at risk for STDs. People of the ages between 14 and 20 are the most vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases. The earlier the age of first intercourse the higher the chances of STD infection
Virginia has developed its own approach to the STD epidemic. The goal is to bring clinics, doctors, and educational leaders together to stem the tide of sexually transmitted diseases.
An effective national response to the STD epidemic requires engagement from many players:
- Open discussion about STDs often leads to acceptance. Only by regular testing and by using condoms during every sexual encounter reduces the risks of disease.
- A joint effort between parents and teachers educates young people on the risks. Honest discussions reduce embarrassment and help young people separate fact from fiction.
- The delivery of more services to minorities and lower income people who are more at risk for STDs.
In 2006, Arlington, Virginia was ranked the most educated city. Arlington County also ranked in highest median income. In 2011 the CDC published a Public Heath statement related to the issues that minorities face which make it more difficult to maintain healthy lifestyles. Poverty, limited education, poor jobs and other factors contribute to the rise of STD cases. Because of better education and lower poverty rates, the STD case rate has continued to fall in Arlington.
History has a way of making you realize how short life really is. Go ahead and enjoy a great evening with your partner, just remember to play it safe. That means getting tested. While STDs are lower in the Arlington area, it doesn’t mean you can’t become infected. Low and free testing sites are available. With one phone call, you can avoid the lines and protect yourself. In less than half an hour you can take care of your health with plenty of time to see the sights.