The CDC and Monroe County Health Department recently released statistics highlighting the area’s high STD rates. Not only does it indicate that the number of reported incidents is increasing, but that these rates have been rising over the last twenty years.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are two of the most commonly transmitted sexual diseases, and the ones seeing the greatest increase. Syphilis incidents are also increasing, and this has health officials particularly alarmed.
The recent statistics do show some good news for the suburban city, the number of new HIV/AIDS incidents reported have decreased over the last three years. This brings the county rate below the state average.
What is surprising to some health officials is who is testing positive the most. Teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 do have the highest risk for contracting Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, especially African American men and women. While women are at an increased risk for Chlamydia, it is guys that are testing positive more often for Gonorrhea.
This doesn’t mean that older residents aren’t also at risk. Men over the age of 25 have an increased risk for contracting Syphilis and HIV. While the number of HIV incidents is decreasing, the same is not true regarding Syphilis.
With the recent statistics showing that STDs affect all residents regardless of gender or age, it is important that everyone start taking care of their sexual health.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing STD problem include,
- In 2015 the Chlamydia rate for the county was reported at 442.8 per 100,000 residents.
- The primary and secondary Syphilis rates in 2015 were 7.2, compared to the 3.4 reported by the state.
- Teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 accounted for the majority of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections reported each year.
While the state does require public schools to provide students with material on STD and HIV prevention, its approach to sex education is limited to the encouragement of abstinence.
This means that most students aren’t receiving the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
Recent surveys have found that the majority of high school seniors have engaged in sexual activity at least once before graduation. When this is combined with the rising STD and teen pregnancy rates, it should be obvious to educators that the current sex education program is no longer effective.
Instead of learning how the use of condoms can prevent the spread of STDs, students are taught that prophylactics are ineffective. This means that the majority of teens that are sexually active aren’t taking the steps they need to prevent contracting a STD. This is also being blamed as one of the reasons for the city’s rising teen pregnancy rates.
One of the best ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to get tested, unfortunately most teens don’t understand how important it is. If regular Herpes testing in Bloomington was a part of everyone’s health care routine, the spread of the virus could finally be brought under control. Regular HIV testing in Bloomington is crucial for everyone’s continued good health, and the simple procedure could potentially save your life.
There are several factors contributing to the high STD rates in the area. It is home to several colleges and this typically does mean an increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases that are reported each year.
It is easy for teens at college to engage in risky behaviors. This is especially true if it is their first time away from home. Excessive drinking and the excitement of meeting new people can cause college students to forget about the dangers of STDs.
Over the last several years the city has also seen budget cuts to its health care programs. This has forced some community STI clinics to close their doors or have limited hours of operation. Not only is this making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested, most residents simply don’t have the time to spend waiting in the long lines.
Adding to the problem are the recent changes to Medicaid. Now that STD testing is no longer covered many residents are finding that they simply can’t afford to take care of their sexual health.
The largest contributing factor remains the lack of sex education. As long as teens and young adults don’t understand the risks and responsibilities that come with being sexually active the city can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
Before you decide to spend the day exploring the shops on Kirkwood Ave or wander the trails at Hoosier National Forest, it is important to take a minute to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and it is affecting residents across all demographics. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in a long line, and now you don’t have to. With one simple phone call you can easily schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health, and still have plenty of time to enjoy a day in the city.