Statistics recently released by the CDC and Cabarrus Health Department are showing an alarming trend that has been occurring for the past two decades. Over the last twenty years the number of STDs reported annually has been rising, and are now coming close to state averages. These latest statistics only serve to emphasize the importance of regular STD testing.
Since 2005 the number of Chlamydia incidents reported each year has been steadily rising, and women are among those with the greatest risk for infection. This is especially true for females under the age of 24, and teens are testing positive more often in recent years.
The recent statistics also show that it is not just women who are at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, men are testing positive for Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV with alarming frequency.
Teens and young adults are more than twice as like to contract Gonorrhea, but it is men over the age of 25 that are finding themselves with an increased risk for contracting Syphilis and HIV/AIDS. It is these statistics that has health officials particularly worried since many thought that these two sexually transmitted diseases were under control.
With statistics indicating that everyone is equally at risk regardless of age it is important that residents understand how important regular STD testing is. Some of the other statistics that highlight this growing need include,
- In 2012 the county reported a Chlamydia rate of 397.2 compared to 289.5 in 2005.
- The HIV rate for the area in 2014 was 9.6 compared to 6.7 reported in 2010.
- The Gonorrhea rate for the area in 2014 was 77.7 per 100,000 residents, with the majority of incidents occurring in males.
Unfortunately the state does not require public school districts to provide comprehensive sex education classes, but if they do the material must be abstinence based.
Schools are required to provide students with medically accurate information regarding STDs and HIV, but this isn’t enough for teens to adequately protect themselves from these transmittable diseases.
Even though recent studies have shown that the majority of parents agree that students need access to the information that could protect them from STDs, the state still refuses to implement comprehensive sex education programs in the classroom. With 68 percent of high school seniors in the state admitting that they are sexually active, it is clear that the current abstinence based programs are not effective.
Recent health department statistics show that sexually transmitted infections among teens is rising, even in schools where abstinence is strongly encouraged. The lack of medically accurate sex education classes is also being blamed for the state’s high teen pregnancy rate. Until teens are taught the skills they need to protect themselves from these transmittable diseases the STD rate will continue to rise in the city.
If students were taught the importance of regular Herpes testing in Concord, area high schools could start to see a decrease in their infection rates. Regular HIV testing in Concord is covered, but with very few community clinics many teens are finding it difficult to take care of their sexual health.
There are several factors affecting the STD rates in the city. Its small size has limited the number of community clinics, and this is making it difficult for some residents to find a convenient place to get tested. The lack of STI clinics is also resulting in long lines, and most residents simply do not have the time to spend the entire day at the community health center.
Recent budget cuts to health care are also being blamed for the steady rise in STD rates. Now that STD testing is not covered under Medicaid, many residents are finding that they simply cannot afford to take care of their sexual health. While there are a few programs geared towards lower income residents, it is not enough for everyone to be tested on a regular basis.
According to health officials the main reason STD rates are increasing is due to the lack of comprehensive sex education programs in the public high schools. It is not uncommon for students to graduate not fully understanding the risks and responsibilities associated with being sexually active. With over half of graduating seniors admitting to having intercourse at least once, it is obvious that the current abstinence based curriculum is not effective.
Until these and other issues are resolved, this southern city can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
Before you head off to spend a day enjoying all of the attractions at the Concord Mills Mall it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that it is important to get tested on a regular basis. It is understandable if you want to avoid the long lines at the community clinics, and now you can. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at the local lab. This way you still have plenty of time to enjoy your day in this beautiful southern city.