Additional STD Test Statistics in Boca Ciega, FL
Boca Ciega city has a population of more than 70,000 people as of 2016. The city has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last decade. The growth of the city’s economy has attracted many people among them investors, foreign tourists, and domestic tourists. With the influx of all types of people in the city, STDs have exponentially increased.
The most common types of STDs in the city are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis, while HIV/AIDS is also a concern among the residents. With the state being one of the severely hit by STDs with a rate of 588.7, Pinellas County has a rate that is above the State’s rate at 610 per 100, 000 people according to a 2015 research. Most of the infected people are the youth between the age of 14 to 29 years, accounting for more than 70% of the total infections.
According to a 2014 research, Chlamydia had the most infections in the county with a total of 3854 reported cases per 100, 000 people. This is one of the highest reported cases in the history of the county. A CDC report showed that females aged between 15 and 29 years were the most affected by Chlamydia. The report further highlighted that over 50% of the youth in middle schools, high schools and colleges have had sex experience. The State ranked 25th among all States in terms of Chlamydia infections.
Gonorrhea was the second most common STD in the County with a total of 1295 reported cases per 100,000 people in 2014. The most infected age was between 15 and 29 years. Men who have sex with other men had the greatest percentage of infection. The African Americans were the hardest hit by Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
Syphilis was another STD that was prevalent in the county. In 2014 it had a total of 186 reported cases, which was a great increase from the previous years. Men were the most infected. African Americans within the age of 15 to 29 years were the most infected. Cases of Congenital syphilis were also reported. Compared to 2011, the STD rates had increased tremendously. The 2011 rates for the three STDs per 100,000 population were:
- Chlamydia 424.3
- Gonorrhea 140.7
- Syphilis 6.9
STD Testing and Sexual Health Education in Boca Ciega, FL
With such an increase in STD infection in Boca Ciega city, intervention was urgently needed to control the spread. The health community along with the County Government and the State’s Health department intervened to provide sexual education to the locals to help them make sound sex decisions. The health department considered lack of sex education as one of the main contributing factors to the increased STD infections in the city.
Some of the middle and high schools within the city are progressively adopting comprehensive sexual education. All middle schools and high schools only have the abstinence only as the only means of STD protection and prevention against unwanted pregnancies. Though it was adopted many years ago in 1990’s, the system needs improvement to comprehensive sex education so as to equip the locals with knowledge on refusal means, understand their bodies and changes, the importance of STD testing and means of condom use.
Colleges and Universities have organised exhibitions highlighting on the need for safe sex, ways of avoiding unhealthy relationships, and safe condom use methods. This is helping the entire community learn the importance of safe sex and ways of preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Health facilities including Planned Parenthood centers, urgent cares and private and public health centers teach the locals on the need for preventing and testing STDs. Together with dispensing condoms to the locals, these institutions have specialists to give age appropriate and medically accurate information to their clients.
Higher institutions of learning have been advised to have professional trainers most importantly in health education. There is also a proposal for all sex education trainers to be certified. The health community has also proposed the establishment of Local advisory committees. The committee should include parents, teachers, medical experts in sexuality and community leaders. The committee will be responsible for evaluating on the right materials like books, magazines, and approving the sex education curricula to be taught in schools. The committee would also chip in urging parents to be more involved in their children sex matters and answer any sex questions correctly and promptly.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in Boca Ciega, FL
Along with other varying factors, demography has greatly impacted the increase in STD infection in Boca Ciega. According to a 2010 survey, the population of the city is distributed into:
- White only 94%
- Hispanic 2.7%
- Asian 1%
- Black 0.5%
- American indian 0.2%
- Other races 0.05%
With the above statistics, it is hard to combat the increase of STDs in the city as each race has different values and practices. In matters of relationships and sex, different cultures have different norms too and this hinders the fight against STDs.
Another factor that has greatly influenced the increase in STDs is the existence of different religions within the city. The city is distributed into the below religions:
- Catholic 12.3%
- Evangelical protestant 10%
- Mainline protestant 7.1%
- Other 3.3%
- Orthodox 2.0%
- Black protestant 1.1%
- None 64.0%
Different religions have different values and beliefs. This also inhibits the fight against the spread of STDs in Boca Ciega.
Lack of a well developed comprehensive sexual education curriculum in Middle and High schools and to the general public. With the statistics showing that the youth between the ages of 15 and 29 are the most infected, comprehensive sex education should be introduced in their school curriculums. This would help them understand their physical and psychological body changes and also help them make informed sex decisions. With the system lacking backing in some parts of the city, many youths are more vulnerable to STD infection.
Unemployment rate as of 2015 which stood at 4.7% and the people who are living below the State’s average poverty level also have impacted the growth of STDs. Their income levels cannot sustain their health needs and the basic family needs. Many families lack the finance for regular STD testing and this increases their chances of infection.
Lack of sufficient and fully equipped health facilities has also necessitated the growth of STDs in the city. Health centers are not well decentralised and distributed across the city. This makes the access for STD services limited. Though the above factors limit the availability of STD testing and sex education, outreach programs are gradually making an impact in the fight against STD infection in Boca Ciega.
STI Testing Resources in Boca Ciega, FL
With the trend of the current STD increase year by year in the city, the County Department of Health along with the Federal government and State Health Department have joined hands in the fight against STDs. The availability of STD testing centers is one of the main target areas to help in reducing the rates of STD spread. The county government has worked tirelessly to ensure the health facilities within their cities are equipped and have the experts for every STD. They have decentralised the health facilities including Parenthood centers, Urgent care centers, and private and public health centers.
Boca Regional Health Center is one of the public health facilities within the city. It has proficient staff for that have etiquette when handling clients. They offer free HIV/AIDs testing, management and prevention. They offer all other STD testing at a subsidized cost, which is affordable to the general public. Together with dispensing condoms, they offer counselling and family therapy on request. West Boca Medical Health Center is another public health facility within Boca Ciega. It is one of the equipped health centers within the city and offers medically accurate and fast STD diagnosis. They accept all types of insurance covers and offer referrals upon request.
Boca Center for health is a private health facility in the city. With several branches across the city, the institution has a reputation of medically accurate and fast diagnosis with high standard of customer handling measures. It offers personalized services which are private and confidential. The testing, counselling and education on sexuality is done by experts who have specialized in their specific areas. Springs At Boca Ciega Bay is another private health institution within the city. It offers fast and efficient STD testing services. It has a track record of honoring their appointments and keeping their clients satisfied with their services. They also dispense condoms and offer other contraception methods.
BayCare Urgent Care is a health facility within the city. It has several branches across the city and offers fast and medically accurate STD testing. Their services are time sensitive and won’t keep you waiting for your results. They have qualified personnel for their testing. Their services are walk-in basis. MD Now Urgent Care is another urgent care within the city. It is fully equipped with all STD types professionals. They also offer walk-in basis services and handle their clients with a lot of care.
Boca Ciega Planned parenthood center is another health facility that offers appointment basis services to their clients. Their services are time based and can even send to you through email. This is one of the most convenient platforms for sending results after counselling has been done. St Petersburg community Planned parenthood center is another urgent care within the city. It offers both contraception and STD testing services which are private and confidential. They also give family counselling which are controlled and private.
Better Sexual Health in Boca Ciega, FL
STD infection in Boca Ciega has been a threatening wave in Boca Ciega over the last five years. Though the health community introduced the abstinence only in early 1990s as the only sure way to curb the spread of STDs, the spread of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis has been prevalent in Boca Ciega.
The county health community is now pushing for the adoption of comprehensive sexual education in middle and high schools in attempt to reduce the spread of the three STDs amongst the youth. They have also improved the status of all public health centers to help in testing the locals. Outreach programs have also been initiated to help educate the locals on the need for STD testing. A light at the end of the tunnel can be seen in the fight against STD spread by employing the above policies.