According to statistics released by the CDC and New Castle County Health Department the number of STDs reported annually is rising, and has been for the last twenty years. The data also shows that the STD rates are increasing across the state.
Chlamydia is the most commonly contracted STD, and the majority of cases reported occur in women ages 15 to 24. As of 2015 the county had the second highest Chlamydia rate in the state, with Caucasian women presenting the greatest risk for contracting the disease.
Gonorrhea rates are staying steady, though statistics show that men are more likely to contract this STD than women. Men are also at a higher risk for contracting Syphilis, though health officials are quick to point out that these rates are well below national averages. What really local health officials worried is the rapidly increasing HIV rate in men and women.
As of 2015 the county has the highest incident rate for HIV in the state, and the statistics indicate that this is not likely to change. After decreasing slightly in 2009 the number of residents living with or testing positive for the potentially deadly virus has been rising at an alarming rate. Since HIV/AIDS can affect anyone, this statistic alone should be enough to convince residents of the importance of regular STD testing.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing STD problem in the unincorporated city include,
- In 2015 the Chlamydia rate for the county was reported at 517 per 100,000 residents, compared to 555 in 2016.
- According to 2015 statistics that county has the 4th highest Chlamydia rate and ranks highest in the state for HIV incidents.
- The county reported a Gonorrhea rate of 104.8 in 2015, compared to the state average of 99.1.
The state is one of the few that currently requires its public schools to provide students with sex education, though the material presented must stress the benefits of abstinence. This is where some law makers feel the state’s sex education policy falls short.
While there are several benefits associated with abstinence, especially for teenagers, the truth remains that the majority of them are sexually active by graduation. This means that it is important for students to have access to the tools and information that can help protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.
Currently medically accurate information on STDs and HIV is taught in the sex education classes, though students also learn that abstinence is the best method of protection. Abstaining from intercourse is the most effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancies, but it does not always stop the spread of a sexually transmitted disease.
With regular Herpes testing in Brandywine local high schools could finally start to see a decrease in the number of students that contract the contagious virus each year. Since the importance of regular HIV testing in Brandywine is covered in the sex education programs, residents should be aware that the simple procedure is currently the only way to positively identify this potentially deadly disease.
There are several demographic factors that are responsible for the high STD rates in the area. Since the area is unincorporated is does miss out on some funding that could go towards improving health care in the rural community.
The lack of funding combined with recent statewide budgets cuts has resulted in a shortage of STI clinics. This is making it extremely difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested. Adding to the problem are the changes to Medicaid. Now that it no longer covers STD testing many residents are finding that they simply cannot afford to take care of their sexual health.
Many residents also mistakenly believe that their small town is safe from the threat of sexually transmitted diseases. It is a problem that affects larger cities, not their small community. While their smaller population does help to reduce their risk, the fact remains that anyone can contract a STD without even realizing it.
Even though the state does have a sex education policy in place, it does not adequately cover all of the ways STDs can be spread and this is helping to reinforce this mistaken belief. As long as residents believe that they can never contract a sexually transmitted disease the incident rates will continue to rise in the community.
Before you decide to sample the wines at the area vineyards or tour a Revolutionary War battlefield it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that regular testing should be a part of your health care routine. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in line at the crowded clinic, and now there is a faster and easier way for you to take responsibility for your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you still have plenty of time to enjoy the scenic valley.