Although the Bronx ranks fourth among the five boroughs in population, it surpasses the others in terms of STD rates. The New York Department of Health alongside other community organizations and leaders have begun to reach out to the local population more actively in light of these findings.
As these graphs show, the Bronx surpasses Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queen and Staten Island in transmission rates of both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea across the board and also comes close to the transmission rates for Syphilis in Manhattan, the state’s largest borough.
In 2013, the Bronx made headlines in the NYC Daily News when it was revealed that one area within the Bronx had the highest rate for people suffering with two STDs at once. The 10457 zip code, which includes neighborhoods such as Tremont and portions of Crotona, Belmont and Claremont, was found to have the highest number of people suffering from two or more of the following communicable diseases
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
With this in mind, community leaders and government agencies have all stepped up their approach in helping to educate the public on the importance of safe sex as well as personal care when it comes to detecting and treating these conditions.
In recent years, the New York Board of Education has adopted a Risk Reduction approach to sexual education for students in Middle and High School classes. This approach includes frank and open discussions about various STDs as well as unplanned pregnancy and other issues which can arise from sexual activity. As the program is comprehensive, it has given parents the option to ‘opt out’ of certain topics but this is limited to the teaching of STD and pregnancy prevention methods, specially the use of condoms and other forms of birth control. Parents are not able to remove their children from classes covering
- Anatomy and physical changes through adolescence
- Understanding what constitutes ‘risky behavior’ in relation to HIV and STD transmission
- Techniques to postpone sex (including ways to say no to a partner)
- Information on spotting, avoiding and getting out of abusive relationships
Both Herpes and HIV have also become a serious issue within the borough, with rates for each on the rise. As of the end of 2012, there were more than 23,000 people in the Bronx living with HIV or AIDS making it a serious concern and a focus for HIV testing in Bronx, New York. Herpes trends tend to be viewed citywide and New York has been found to have a higher than average rate for Herpes, with around 28% of the population testing positive for the disease. As a result Herpes testing in the Bronx, New York has also become a high priority right alongside other STD testing and support services available through STD clinics throughout the city.
The state offers a number of clinics which provide low cost or free STD testing to the public depending on their income and level of need, but these clinics are not often used due to the stigma associated with it. This is due, in part, to the population density of the Bronx. While the borough is only the fourth largest of the five boroughs in New York, it has a population of nearly 1.5 million people, making it the third-highest borough for population density. Simply put, the Bronx may be a city, but for locals it has that small town feel of constantly running into people you know.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Bronx is one of the most diverse areas in the country. If you were to choose any two residents completely at random, there would be a 89.7% chance they would be of different races. This diverse mix of people means the city has a thriving culture and also certain challenges unique to reaching out to such a diverse population.
For the most part, STD transmission rates are highest with the city’s young people, regardless of their race, which tells us that early prevention is the key. Still, the sexual education given in schools is often seen as inadequate and many young people simply fail to understand the severity of STDs and safe sex.
As a result, the New York Department of Health offers resources for low cost and free STD testing clinics throughout the borough as well as resources in neighboring areas. In these free STD clinics, patients are seen on a first come, first serve basis which presents a number of problems. Primarily, the issue is that a person can make the trek to an office only to end up waiting with a room full of other people and they don’t have any guarantee they’ll be seen by a doctor that day.
Alternatively, private STD clinics have popped up throughout the city in an attempt to relieve some of the burden from these government funded clinics. Mail order testing has also become increasingly popular as people begin to value the privacy these services offer as well as the convenience of being able to conduct the test in their own home.
Looking forward, city officials and community leaders recognize the importance of sexual education and outreach for all Bronx residents, with a focus on younger people who may not fully grasp the importance of sexual health. There has also been a focus on offering STD testing which is more accessible and more confidential for all residents of the borough.
While it isn’t possible to obtain a truly anonymous STD test in the Bronx, it is now fairly easy to get one which is completely confidential thanks to private std testing centers. Whether a person needs HIV testing, Herpes testing or just general STD testing, they no longer need to wait in the crowded waiting room of low cost or free STD clinics. Don’t delay – get tested.
Disclaimer: Safer STD Testing and it’s testing partners provide private (not anonymous) STD testing for all of it’s patients. Your information and results are retained on record strictly protected in full compliance with the applicable state and federal privacy laws.