In 2016, Warren County had an HIV prevalence rate of 143.2 per 100K people, which was under Kentucky’s average of 184.3. But local health officials are more worried about bacterial STDs. That same year, the county had a chlamydia rate of 429, above Kentucky’s rate of 413.2.
Bacterial STDs tend to be prevalent among college students, and Bowling Green is home to Western Kentucky University. The gonorrhea and (primary and secondary) syphilis rates were 114 and 1.6.
Health officials have noticed that young women treated for chlamydia are often reinfected quickly, prompting them to push for expedited partner therapy—giving the woman a round of antibiotics for her partner. Also, many people don’t understand the risks of STDs; for example, they don’t realize they can get them through oral sex.
Because youth in Kentucky do not get comprehensive sex education in schools, health experts urge parents and family physicians to talk to kids about sex and how to prevent STIs, even though the conversation may be uncomfortable.
Bowling Green has a few STD-testing clinics. The Warren County Health Department on State St provides testing and treatment for STIs. The Graves Gilbert Clinic at WCU offers STI testing and treatment for students. If you keep checking the community calendar, you may be able to catch a free STD testing event, especially during STD Awareness Month.