Statistics recently released by the CDC and Rockland County Health Department show that the Hudson Valley Area is currently experiencing a rise in the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year. What should be more alarming to residents is that this trend has been occurring for the past twenty years.
Rising STD rates are unfortunately not new in this city and it is affecting everyone regardless of age or sexual activity.
Out of the 7 counties that comprise the Hudson Valley, Rockland is ranked in the middle. This is not due to an increase in regular STD testing, but instead to its lower population.
The recent statistics show that the rates for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis are all increasing. Teens and young adults are among those with the highest risk, especially those in the 18 to 22 age bracket. Chlamydia affects a higher percentage of women than men, but this is not true regarding all of the commonly transmitted venereal diseases.
Since 2011 there has been a sharp increase in the number of men that test positive for Gonorrhea. This is also true regarding Syphilis and HIV. What was really surprising to most local health officials is the fact that even Hepatitis B incidents are increasing, and have now past state averages.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing need for STD testing on a regular basis include,
- In the twelve month period from 2010 to 2011 the mortality rate for AIDS surpassed the averages reported for the upstate area.
- The county reported 1,686 cases of Chlamydia in females from 2012 to 2014, compared to the 629 incidents in men.
- The Gonorrhea rate for the county from 2012 to 2014 was reported at 29.8 per 100,000 residents.
Like many states there are no guidelines in place when it comes to sex education. While all public school systems are required by federal law to include information on HIV/AIDS in their health education classes that is as far as it goes.
The public schools are not required to teach sex education, and a large number of them choose not to include it in their curriculums. This is leaving a large number of teens ill-equipped to deal with the risks and responsibilities that come with being sexually active.
There are a few public school systems in the city that do offer “opt-in” sex education classes. Unfortunately the majority of these programs teach abstinence based material, and studies have shown that this is not effective. Instead of providing teens and young adults with the tools they need to prevent STDs, they are made to feel ashamed if they are sexually active.
Students are rarely taught that regular Herpes testing in Clarkstown is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the infectious virus. While regular HIV testing in Clarkstown is covered in the health education classes, students seldom understand how important it is. Simply visiting a STI clinic on a regular basis could go a long way towards prevent the spread of these diseases.
Its location in the scenic Hudson Valley adds to the city’s appeal, while contributing to its high STD rate. Not only do the panoramic views draw tourists in, many of them also bring untreated STDs into the city. Its relatively remote location and small size has also limited the number of community health centers. This is making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested.
Adding to the problem are the recent budget cuts to the state’s health care system. Several testing facilities in the area have been forced to close, leaving long lines and crowded waiting rooms at the few that are still open. Not only is it difficult for residents to find a clinic, the possibility of having to wait all day is forcing many of them to put off this important health test.
What is being touted as the main contributing factor is the simple lack of comprehensive sex education. Even though all students are taught the basics regarding HIV/AIDS, very few learn about the other common STDs. Discussions on contraceptives are also not included, and this is being blamed for the area’s high STD and teen pregnancy rates.
As long as teens and young adults aren’t able to access the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmittable diseases, the health of everyone will continue to be at risk.
Taking care of your sexual health is important and this means regular STD testing. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in a long line, and now you don’t have to. Simply by making one quick and easy phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing. It will only take a few minutes of your time at a local lab, which gives you plenty of time to explore this historic and scenic area.