According to recent statistics released by the CDC and Fresno County Health Department the number of STDs reported each year is rising in this bedroom community. While part of the high STI rate is due to its close location next to the larger city of Fresno this does not mean that Clovis residents aren’t still at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
For the past twenty years the number of residents that test positive for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea has been steadily increasing and in 2011 the infection rate for these sexually transmitted diseases was above state averages, and still is. While Gonorrhea rates in men and women appear to be starting to decrease and the number of residents that contract Chlamydia seem to be remaining unchanged, the same is not true for Syphilis.
The number of women that contract primary and secondary Syphilis in the county is increasing each year and in 2014 it was twice that of the state average. This is particularly alarming to health officials since this venereal disease is typically more prevalent in men than women.
HIV also remains a constant concern, especially in this bedroom community where support and treatment is limited and many residents do not even realize that they might be at risk. The statistics also show that young men and women 20 to 24 years old are more likely to contract a venereal disease than residents in other age brackets.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the importance of getting testing regularly include,
- From 2010 to 2014 the number of women that tested positive for primary and secondary Syphilis doubled and rose higher than state averages.
- African Americans are twice as likely in some cases to contract a STD as other ethnicities.
- Native American males are at the highest risk for contracting primary and secondary Syphilis, according to 2014 statistics.
In response to the growing number of residents that were testing positive for STDs the state now requires all public school districts to have medically accurate and comprehensive sex education programs for students starting in the 7th grade. While some residents feared that this was too soon for students, statistics show that teens are becoming sexually active at a younger age.
Along with including the required information on HIV/AIDS the new sex education programs also cover all of the ways STDs can be spread. The proper use of contraceptives is also discussed, along with the pros and cons associated with being sexually active. Other topics covered include how to say “no”, along with the warning signs that a relationship might become abusive. All of this is being done in an effort to protect teens and decrease their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
One of the most important subjects now covered is the importance of regular HIV testing in Clovis. Students are taught that this is the only way to detect the disease, and that the simple procedure could save their life. Regular Herpes testing in Clovis is also important, and officials hope that soon the virus won’t be as prevalent in the city’s public school system.
There are several factors that are contributing the high STD rate in the city, though steps are being taken to help residents protect themselves. Adding comprehensive sex education classes to the curriculum in public schools is already having a positive effect on the STD rates among teens, and even the number of students that graduate pregnant is also decreasing. While this is positive news more still needs to be done to ensure everyone understands how important it is to be tested on a regular basis.
A recent loss of funding for more state run clinics is making it difficult for residents to get the health care that they need. Some community health centers have been forced to close leaving residents with nowhere to go when they want to get tested. Many of these tests are no longer covered under standard insurance plans and this is making it difficult for many people to afford the cost of testing. Even the centers that were offering low cost testing are no longer able to help residents get the comprehensive care that they need.
Intravenous drug use is also on the rise, and this is being blamed for the increase in Syphilis diagnoses. Many residents do not know that their behavior is putting them at risk, especially if they are sharing needles. Until all of these problems are addressed, including the need for STD testing, the city can expect to continue to have a high rate of infection.
When you are making plans for your day it is important to remember to make time for a visit to the STI clinic to be tested for all of the sexually transmitted diseases. If you don’t want to spend the entire day in a crowded community health center but still want to take care of your sexual health, there is a faster and more convenient option. You can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend a few minutes at a local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your day.