Continuous interactions of visitors and residents keep diseases like Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, C and HIV go on the rise. With an increasing shortage of testing centers residents are having a tough time taking care of their sexual health.
Even though Chlamydia is the most commonly contracted STD totaling 132 per every 100,000 annually, the city has been dubbed as the state’s HIV capital due to its high rate of new infections annually.
Young residents are the most infected with HIV. A report by the Hartford County’s health department ranked the city second when it comes to people infected with gonorrhea despite increased awareness and medicine to treat the bacteria. In the same report, 85% of residents are living with HIV. However, the report also cautions that the number of infected individuals may be higher as the virus can go undetected for years after being exposed.
People infected with the HIV are also more commonly diagnosed with other sexual diseases including Hepatitis, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis and gonorrhea. No cases of Syphilis were recorded by the health department in 2015.
Sex education is a must in the city due to a senate approved law that requires all schools to offer mandatory sex education lessons in their timetable. The public school districts also provide education on sexual health and promote safe sexual practices including use of contraceptives and medicines.
An uproar was reported earlier in the city when local primary school teachers received kits containing educational material on sexual diversity. The said material contained information deemed too mature for the young scholars. The protests from church groups and local organizations prompted the publisher to replace illustrations and texts with less explicit content.
Visitors to the city are even offered free classes on sexual health. This is after an assault occurred in a neighboring town on the New Year’s Eve of 2016. The government offers these lessons in more than 12 languages, including Arabic and Turkish, on a website dedicated to teaching individuals from visiting nations. However, some residents think that the whole process is unnecessary.
It only took three weeks, after the website went online, for people to start complaining about its vulgarity. Nevertheless, city leaders argue that sex education is not offered in all cities and that visitors may lack the general information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. Health officials back this up with the argument that most residents from the town come from states where sex as a topic is a taboo that should be avoided at all costs.
In 2016 local leaders approved a law that prohibits sexual intercourse with a prostitute without using a condom. According to that law, brothel owners are charged with the duty of providing condoms to prospective clients. Any person who wants to open a sex business will have to register with the authority to aid in investigating whether it is gang-ran or involved in uncouth activities such as human trafficking.
While a majority of residents are 45 years of age, it’s teens and adults in their early twenties who are more susceptible to contracting STDs. It is easy to find male prostitutes as young as 14 years old indulging in the business. Same-sex couples are also vulnerable to contracting STDs. The high rates of Hepatitis C virus, HIV and Chlamydia are a tangible indication of this trend.
Additionally, the cultural diversity in the town makes it a hub for transmission of different diseases. While gays and lesbians indicate the highest numbers of STI-infected people, most prostitutes, who are usually, visitors who are out and about exploring their sexual adventure may find STI testing a stepping stone before endeavoring in any sexual activity.
With the introduction of new laws concerning sex education health officials are hopeful that the city’s high STD rates will start to decrease. Unfortunately, as long as opposition remains everyone’s sexual health will continue to be at risk.
The increasing concern over sexual health by city leaders places it at a point where they have to be proactive and more aware of the rising STD rates. While sex education is increasing in schools, you can take the initiative and get tested by placing a call to schedule a confidential STD test. This way you only have to spend a few minutes at a local lab before continuing on with your day as planned.
This is a town that offers many activities from sporting to business and trade. Taking the time to take responsibility for your sexual health is the best way to ensure you can enjoy everything this great city has to offer.