Every year the CDC and Florida Department of Health releases the latest STD statistics for the area. Since this small community is part of the greater Tampa metro area local health officials expected to see high STD rates, but they were not expecting these alarming percentages. For the past twenty years the STD rates have been climbing across the state, and it is no different in Brandon and surrounding Hillsborough County.
Not only are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates rising, but so are the number of primary and secondary Syphilis incidents. STDs are not just affecting one ethnic or age group, these transmittable viruses are a health risk for everyone. While teens and young adults still test positive for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea more often than other groups, Syphilis and HIV diagnoses are on the rise in older males. It is statistics like these that show STDs can and will affect anyone regardless of age or gender.
Some local leaders point out that STD rates in the county have always been high, but that this does not necessarily mean that residents in this small city are at risk. With an estimated 531.5 out of every 100,000 people in the area infected with a sexually transmitted disease, it seems clear that is a health epidemic that affects everyone.
Some of the statistics over the past twenty years that indicate that this is a problem for everyone, regardless of where the live include,
- 1993-1995 saw an STD rate of 330.40 per 100,000 residents, compared to 531.50 reported in the three year period of 2012-2014.
- Since 1993 to the latest CDC statistics released in 2014 the county has had a significantly higher rate of STD incidents than state averages.
- In 2014 there were 28,286 reported cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis in the city and county.
Even though the Tampa metro area has the highest HIV rate in the state, this school year ended without any comprehensive sex education programs in place in the classroom. Like many of school districts across the nation, sex ed. is not required and often not even offered, it is left strictly up to parents to decide what their children need to know. Students are encouraged to abstain from any type of sexual activity until marriage, but they do not receive any information on contraceptives or STD testing.
Many students do not even realize that being tested for all of the common sexually transmitted diseases is something that should be done on a regular basis, and not just when you think that something might be wrong. Not only is this putting their health at risk, but also everyone else they come in contact with.
Without these important classes most students do not know that STDs can be spread through methods other than sex, but this is changing regarding HIV. Medically accurate information on the spread of HIV is covered in health class, but there is still no mention of being tested.
Regular HIV testing in Brandon is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the disease, along with always practicing safe sex. Regular Herpes testing in Brandon is also important, especially for students and their families. If everyone got tested the STD rates would start to drop, which would benefit everyone in the area.
This bedroom community can blame part of its high STD rate on its close proximity to Tampa, but simply be part of the city’s metro area is not the only reason residents are dealing with an increasing number of STDs.
The main reason that the number of sexually transmitted infections has been climbing is due to a simple lack of education. Residents not only do not understand all of the ways these viruses can be spread, many aren’t even aware that they are putting their health at risk. Often teens become sexually active without using a condom, and the lack of information has also lead to several misconceptions.
Some teens and even older adults believe that a STD could never happen to them, while others think that it is okay to not use protection when they know the person that they are with. As long as these and other misconceptions are allowed to continue the number of people that test positive will keep rising.
Even though it is part of a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis, it is still extremely conservative. This is making it difficult for health officials and some politicians to make any changes that would include providing teens and older adults with all of the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
With the excitement of the big city nearby, along with some great beaches it can be hard to make yourself stand in line at the clinic just to be tested for STDs. This is an important step towards ensuring your good health, and now there is an easier way to get tested for STDs. Simply make one phone call to schedule confidential STD testing and then you only need to spend a few minutes at the lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health, and still have plenty of time to work on your tan.