STD Testing and Sexual Health Education in Canton, MI
Even though the figures offered above are truly sobering, and indicate that there are significant strides that still need to be made in educating the populace about sexual health, there are some bright lights among the alarming statistics. For example, the Wayne County region of Michigan was one of only two areas in Michigan that has seen declines in the chlamydia and gonorrhea rates in recent years. At the moment, it is too soon to draw strong conclusions about if this decline is a statistical fluke or if it is indicative of the positive impact of educational efforts in the schools and community.
The Canton school district, and schools in surrounding communities, seem to recognize and embrace the need for comprehensive sexual health education. To help schools with this education process, the Michigan Department of Education has developed numerous links to materials that educators can use across all grades, as well as a variety of curriculum suggestions on incorporating sexual health education into comprehensive education on building positive self-esteem and becoming productive members of society. The Department also employs a full-time HIV education consultant tasked with heading up outreach efforts surrounding HIV.
These education efforts have become even more important in recent years as statistics indicate that many of the newly diagnosed cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia are in the 15-24 year old age cohort; and a surprising number of cases are among those in the pre-college group. This is driven in part by increased societal leniency towards casual hook-ups. And some articles suggest that social media and websites like Tinder play a role as well.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in Canton, MI
The city of Canton has several interesting demographic characteristics that should be noted. Even though Detroit, and much of Michigan’s, economy has struggled in recent years, largely due to ongoing troubles in the automotive industry, Canton has largely remained an affluent bedroom community of both Detroit and Ann Arbor. It is frequently ranked as one of the 100 wealthiest mid-sized cities in America. Generally, economic vitality and STD infection rates are negatively correlated — wealthier and more educated individuals are often more likely to use condoms and engage in other safer sex practices. However, Canton’s relatively high rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea show that this correlation is not always perfect.
However, on the flip side of the coin, Canton has a large percentage of families, drawn by the promises of safe neighborhoods and good quality public schools, with children under the age of 18. As was noted in the previous section, a significant number of newly diagnosed gonorrhea and chlamydia cases are in young people under the age of 24, and many of those who are diagnosed are in high school.
In recent years, more and more high school students are becoming sexually active, and many of those who are sexually active have multiple partners. The hook-up culture that originated in American colleges and universities has begun to permeate high schools (and in some communities, even middle schools). This may help explain the high STD rates seen in Canton. It undoubtedly underscores the importance of proactively educating children in schools from a young age to be aware of their bodies and to embrace safe sexual health practices.
Also, it should be noted that the population of Canton has exploded in recent decades, increasing more than 18 percent between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Often communities experience growing pains as their size expands, and sometimes, these growing pains can include public health challenges.
STI Testing Resources in Canton, MI
With its close proximity to both Detroit and Ann Arbor, there are numerous medical options that residents of Canton, Michigan can choose from when they are concerned about their sexual health. These choices range from large doctors’ offices and medical centers that provide comprehensive health care to specialized testing facilities, and on to the Planned Parenthood Clinic that is located in nearby Livonia, Michigan.
Depending on traffic, and an individual’s specific location in Canton, most people can reach Planned Parenthood in less than 25 minutes. Once at Planned Parenthood, a patient can benefit from the wide range of offered services. In addition to offering comprehensive STD testing, this location also specializes in providing services that are particularly geared towards the LGBT community. Planned Parenthood also recognizes that Michigan, and particularly the Wayne County area, is home to a large number of immigrants — many of whom have not yet mastered the English language. Because of this, Planned Parenthood works hard to ensure that interpreters and other qualified staff are on hand to ease any communication challenges.
Planned Parenthood is not the only option for people who want to get fast and confidential results to testing for a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases. There are numerous for-profit clinics in the community, such as STD Check and STD Text Express. These for-profit centers tend to be more expensive for testing than Planned Parenthood. Also, these testing centers may not always have medical staff available to talk to patients—they are more focused on diagnosing, rather than providing treatment plans or discussing future lifestyle decisions that a patient may want or need to make. However, even with this caveat, it is important to note that these clinics do work to make sure an overwhelmed patient does not feel abandoned with a potentially scary diagnosis. To address this, STD Check provides a no-charge phone consultation with a doctor for any patient who receives a positive STD diagnosis.
Although Canton is a relatively affluent community, it is important to remember that not everyone may have the funds to pay for private testing, this may be particularly true for teenagers who may be reluctant to discuss testing with their parents. The Wayne County Department of Public Health provides low cost ($10 testing) for people who are concerned about their sexual health. However, it is important to note that they do not offer comprehensive testing. For example, a woman over the age of 30 who does not have Medicaid will not be tested for chlamydia or gonorrhea. Also, the Wayne location may not be convenient for all Canton residents.
Better Sexual Health in Canton, MI
As citizens in the 21st century, in a world that is becoming increasingly fast-paced and filled with a variety of temptations (from the good to the less than savory), it is increasingly important for all of us to be concerned about our health. Health is a broad umbrella that encompasses many different components. However, one key, and frequently overlooked, part of our health is our sexual health.
Unfortunately, rates of various sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, remain high in this country as a whole, and in communities like Canton. And some diseases, such as syphilis, are surging. Even though these statistics may seem scary, it is important not to be fearful. Rather than being fearful, you should be informed and take an active role in maintaining your sexual health. This means engaging in safe sexual practices, such as always using a condom, and also having yourself regularly tested for various illnesses at a reliable clinic.
Here are the links to the resources mentioned above.