The Center for Disease Control works with local health departments around the nation to compile a national database of health concerns. Statisticians and analysts work diligently to put together annual reports that outline the health of the nation. Hospitals, physicians and STD testing centers work jointly with these agencies by forwarding demographic information for inclusion in the studies. This is helpful in providing working numbers that identify the problem areas and who is the most at risk for contracting certain sexually transmitted diseases. The following information is a compilation of the data in report form that shows the percentage of infections which have been identified for the are per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 588.2
- Gonorrhea- 172.8
- Syphilis- 11.2
When this data is compared with other regions and neighboring states, it is considerably higher which causes great concern. This may just be the tip of the iceberg according to health department professionals. The numbers only reflect data for those persons who have actually completed the testing process. It is believed that if every person in high risk categories would get tested, the numbers would increase significantly. This is one of the reasons why there is such urgency in developing strategies for reaching more people with educational information and resources.
The number one factor influencing high STD rates is believed to be poverty. The city has a high rate to begin with and it is difficult to penetrate deeply into the masses with this vital information that could save their lives. People who lack financial resources are more apt to drop out of school and miss out on sex ed that is routinely offered there. They are also less likely to seek medical attention for testing and treatment because they cannot afford to pay the costs. The lack of understanding about symptoms means that infected persons may unwittingly pass an STD on to others without being aware of it. In addition, not all STDs produce symptoms in the early stages so when they do appear, it could be far into the progression of the disease and extended damage could be the result including poor health and even death.
Studies show that there is a trend for school age children to contract Chlamydia. This is a statistic that has created the legislature to mandate sexual health education in all public schools throughout the nation. It is delivered with the hope that reaching middle school aged children will increase their awareness of the dangers of having unprotected sex. They learn where they can go to get HIV testing or a Herpes test.
Trends also consistently show that women contract Chlamydia twice as frequently as men and that those who are age 20 to 24 have the highest incidences. With regard to ethnicity, Blacks have the highest frequency across the board for STD infections, followed by Whites, Hispanics, then Native Americans. Men who participate in male to male sex are at increasing risk for contracting multiple types of STD infections simultaneously. Without the information that is provided by the CDC, we would not have this knowledge or be able to assess what constitutes risk.
The only way to slow the spread of STDs is to make people aware of the dangers of unprotected sex. Campaigns to distribute information that provides the real facts along with information about who is the most at risk, how to prevent infection, how to recognize symptoms and what to do if you suspect you are infected is the only answer to the problem. The challenge is in reaching the people who are in greatest need.
Some may feel hesitant to get tested because of embarrassment or fear of public exposure. STD testing centers are build around the protection of this sensitive information and go to great lengths to provide confidential and private services. Those who cannot afford to pay the fees may apply for free or reduced costs if they meet the income requirements.
You should get tested for STD infection if you’ve had unprotected sex. This does not include people who are in monogamous relationships and who are symptom free. If you are uncertain about your partner’s faithfulness, you may want to get tested to be certain. Ordering the testing is easy and all you’ll need to do is schedule a follow up visit at a local lab to complete the process. Friendly staff will assist you and answer your questions. It doesn’t take long to get your results and you’ll have greater peace of mind once you know. If your results are positive, you’ll be in a better position to get immediate treatment.