According to statistics released by the CDC and Massachusetts Health Department this small thriving city is seeing the same high STD rates as some of the larger metropolises. This is surprising to some local officials since residents are typically conservative in their beliefs and behaviors.
In 2013 the city had one of the highest STD rates in the state, and this was also true regarding Gonorrhea and Syphilis incidents. These rates have remained basically unchanged, even though they have fallen slightly in some other cities. Herpes and Hepatitis B diagnoses are also rising, and health care officials are noting that HPV is becoming more common in young males.
What truly has local health officials concerned are the rising Syphilis and HIV rates. No longer are these diseases mainly a concern for residents in larger, more densely populated metro areas, they are now a problem in smaller cities.
The statistics also show that STDs are no longer a problem that mainly affects teens and young adults, older residents are testing positive for certain sexually transmitted infections more often. Women ages 20 to 24 are at a higher risk for contracting Chlamydia, while older men are more likely to test positive for Syphilis and HIV.
As the number of sexually transmitted diseases continues to rise each year, it has never been so important for everyone to start getting tested for all STDs on a regular basis. Some of the statistics that highlight the growing problem in the city and surrounding Plymouth County include,
- In 2014 the Chlamydia rate was 301.9 per 100,000 residents.
- The Gonorrhea rate for the county in 2014 was reported at 37.6, which is only slightly below the state average of 39.9.
- 2014 saw a HIV rate of 181.2 per 100,000 residents.
In 2015 the state senate managed to pass a bill that now requires school districts to use curriculum that is age appropriate and medically accurate, if they choose to offer sex education to their students.
While this is a step in the right direction, the new law doesn’t actually require public school districts to provide students with sex education. It only states that if these classes are offered they can no longer be based on abstinence only material. This means that many schools are simply including the federally mandated information on HIV in the already required health classes.
Even though students do benefit from only receiving information on how HIV is transmitted, this is not enough to protect them from the other STDs. The high STD rates in the city are a good indicator that students need this information in order to protect themselves. With infection rates also rising in older adults, it has never been so important for residents to know how to prevent these diseases, and to recognize the need for regular testing.
Regular Herpes testing in Brockton will go a long way towards preventing the virus from infecting students, and it will also help lower the incident rate among teens. Regular HIV testing in Brockton is crucial for everyone’s good health, regardless of age or sexual activity. Currently this procedure is also the only way to positively detect the disease.
There are several reasons why STD rates are rising in the city, but the main one is lack of information. The majority of the city’s public schools choose not to offer sex education programs for the simple fact that non abstinence based material goes against their strong conservative beliefs.
The majority of residents are opposed to school districts including information on contraceptives, believing that stressing abstinence will help keep students safe from sexually transmitted diseases. While abstaining from intercourse will effectively prevent pregnancies, it will not stop the spread of STDs. There are several ways in which STDs can be spread, and sexual activity is just one of these methods.
Residents that want to get tested quickly learn that recent budget cuts to health care programs have resulted in fewer STI clinics. The ones that are open are usually understaffed, which has resulted in long lines and limited hours of operation. For most residents it is simply not worth it to stand in the long lines, even if this means that they are putting their sexual health at risk.
The recent cuts to health care funding have also made it difficult for many lower income families to afford the cost of STD testing. When residents are forced to choose between paying bills and being tested for STIs, many simply keep putting off this important health test. Until everyone in the city starts getting tested on a regular basis, Brockton can expect to see its STI rates continue to climb.
Before you head out to Robbins Pond for a day of fishing it is important to think about your sexual health. There are nearby STD clinics, but the long lines have many residents deciding not to get tested. Even though it is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in line, it is still important to take care of your sexual health. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend a few minutes at a local lab so you still have plenty of time left to enjoy the rest of your day.