Local health departments take a spike in any human illness with great seriousness. STD rates are meticulously tracked by gathering data from each test that is administered. The goal is to find out what puts a person at risk so these populations can be targeted for education and assistance. Demographical information including age, sex, ethnicity and financial status has given health dept officials a clearer picture of who is getting tested and among these groups, who has the highest rates for certain STDs. The following data shows the STD rates for this area per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 462.9
- Gonorrhea- 122.2
- Syphilis- 5.8
After health departments submit the pertinent information to the CDC it is categorized and placed in readable and meaningful reports. The information shows a clear pattern for each type of STD and the results are consistent over several years’ span. Chlamydia is the highest occurring form of STD and women have double the rates of men. Those between the ages of twenty and twenty four, both male and female have the greatest frequency of positive test results. African Americans have the highest STD rates for all STDs across the board with Alaskan Natives/American Indians and Hispanics following in that order.
The statistics point to the characteristics of groups of people who have the highest numbers of positive testing results for STDs and they have remained consistent over the past decade, with the exception of climbing rates. While those with the highest numbers form high risk categories, sexual behavior is the greatest indicator of risk. Regardless of age, socio economic status, gender, sexual preference or ethnicity, anyone who engages in risky sexual behaviors is at the highest risk for getting an STD or multiple STDs simultaneously.
People who are from more affluent sectors of the population have the greatest opportunity for accessing education about their sexual health. In addition, they have better options for securing quality health care. This is one of the reasons why socio-economic status has a bearing on the rate at which people are getting tested. There are several densely populated areas in the city which are home to people living at or below the poverty line. Many of them are not aware of the high STD rates in their area nor the risks that they are taking by having unprotected sex. They are also not aware of the many options which exist for getting tested and treated if they are infected.
The public schools provide sex education classes for all children around the age of middle school in an attempt to curb the rising STD rates and improve the overall health of the city. Pregnant women are routinely screened for STDs as a part of their prenatal programs and collaborative efforts between local health departments and health providers distribute literature about safe sex practices and how to prevent STD infection and unwanted pregnancies. With all of this in place, there is still a growing problem and much more needs to be done.
The answer to the STD epidemic is continuous education and allocation of funding dollars for testing and treatment programs. Knowledge and awareness is the key to allowing individuals to realize their predicament and seek the testing and treatment that is so badly needed. Overcoming major obstacles such as lack of knowledge, embarrassment or financial barriers is what is needed in larger doses. Public awareness must be increased so people who are at the greatest risk will understand that their health is in peril. The programs which are currently in place are good and they are effective, but with the increase in population, there are more people who need to be reached with the message. If everyone who is at significant risk for STD infection would get tested it is believed that the number of positive results would increase dramatically. The problem would appear to get worse before it could get better.
There is something that everyone can do to help lower the numbers in the STD war. If you are at any risk for STDs, get tested. If you test positive get treatment. If someone that you know is worried or concerned that they may have been exposed to an STD, encourage them to get tested. There is no reason to feel embarrassed or timid about getting your testing done. You’ll find that when you order your testing it is very easy and quick. After you’ve done this, all that is left to do is to stop by a local lab to finish. It shouldn’t take more than fifteen or twenty minutes at the most. Friendly and professional staff are there to discretely perform the testing and answer any questions that you have. It doesn’t take long for the results to arrive. From start to finish, the entire process is strictly private and confidential so you won’t have to worry about anyone finding out. The technicians you will see are committed to helping people in resolving these types of diseases and you will be treated with dignity and respect. If you truly want to be a part of the solution, jump on the bandwagon and get your STD testing done and encourage others to do the same.