Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B and C, HIV and Syphilis numbers are being monitored. STD clinics are available for private and confidential testing. Low income clients who are not insured or cannot afford the standard fees have access to free STD centers which set their rates in accordance with annual income. Ordering the testing is an easy process that is followed up with a brief visit to a local lab. It doesn’t take long to get tested for an STD and if this is a )for you, it can give you the peace of mind that you need.
Each city, county and state tracks the STD infection rate within its region. They do this by gathering data from testing centers and health providers. State and federal laws protect your rights for privacy so none of the information that is collected is used to identify an individual. Only demographical information is used so the analysts at the Center for Disease Control can keep an eye on the nature and scope of the problem. Their goal is to figure out how severe the problem is, what factors may be contributing to the spread, who is at the highest risk, and how health professionals can best go about preventing an epidemic. The health of the public is their main focus. The following data shows the STD infection rates for specific types in the format of number of people infected per 100,000 in population in this region and in parenthesis, the national ranking for the state.
- Chlamydia- 413.0 (31)
- Gonorrhea- 42.8 (45)
- Syphilis (primary and secondary)- .8 (48)
The good news is that the people of Billings are not living in an area where the highest rates are currently occurring. The bad news is that over the past decade, STD rates have been on the rise. Although certainly not the highest, the rates still indicate that there is a real danger of infection for persons who engage in unprotected sex.
In order to arrive at accurate STD rates, more people who are at risk need to get tested. Currently, those who are believed to be at the highest risk are the groups who do not seek testing services as needed. Those with education and knowledge of sexual health are the most likely to get tested if they suspect that they are at risk for or have contracted an STD. Many people who live at or below the poverty level have not received the information that is routinely distributed to young people in the public school system. Another reason for low testing rates is the lack of knowledge about affordable resources. Even though free clinics do exist, some may avoid going because of the fear that they will be seen by somebody they know and they are embarrassed to tell their family physician.
Technically, anyone who has unprotected sex could get an STD infection. According to the latest reports generated by the CDC, there are trends in STD rates that clearly show a pattern of the highest rates in certain groups. Women age twenty to twenty-four have the greatest instances of Chlamydia, with those age fifteen to nineteen coming in second. Women are diagnosed with Chlamydia twice as often as men are. The age groups for Chlamydia positives in men are half the number, but in line with those of women.
Gonorrhea is more commonly seen in men age 20 to 24, then next highest in the 25 to 29 group. With regard to ethnicity, Blacks have the highest rates for STD positives across the board. Hispanics are the second highest and Native Americans/Native Alaskans are third.
Community education programs promoting facts about the dangers of unprotected sex distribute literature, public service announcements and free counseling through a variety of clinics and other venues. Mandatory sexual health classes are provided in public schools just prior to entry to middle school. In addition, STD testing centers and free clinics have been established to meet the special needs of the residents of this area with confidential testing services. Some of them offer income sensitive or free services for those who meet the criteria.
Some STDs present symptoms fairly quickly. Others may not produce physical symptoms for weeks, months or even years. If you notice any unusual symptoms or if you’ve had sex with multiple partners, or a partner that you suspect is not monogamous there is some degree of risk and you should get tested. Waiting can result in physical damage to your reproductive system and may even endanger your general health. It is always a good idea to be safe and diligently protect your sexual health.
You simply follow the easy ordering instructions. Complete the required information, then visit a local lab to complete the STD testing process. It’s private and confidential. The technicians will assist you in getting the lab portion done quickly. Your results are processed fast and you’ll shortly have the results. Expect to spend no more than 15 to 20 minutes at the lab for the testing portion. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask them. You’ll be treated with dignity and respect at the time of your visit. When you get your results, negative results will help you to breathe a little easier. If they are positive, you can begin the needed treatment that will protect your health.