In 2012 the small city was tied for 2nd with the highest number of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents in the county, and the majority of the cases occurred in women ages 15 to 24. The county’s overall rates for these two commonly transmitted sexual diseases were also 2 percent higher than state averages.
African Americans are among those with the greatest risk for contracting Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, followed closely by Hispanics. It should also be noted that the number of incidents is increasing at a faster rate in men than women. When it comes to Syphilis and HIV, the number of new cases reported annually is also increasing at an alarming rate.
The Volusia Health Department reported that the rate of HIV infection in African American men was four times higher than that of Caucasian males, and it was a startling 15 times higher in African American women compared to Caucasian females. The statistics also show that Syphilis incidents are more common in men, especially males over the age of 24. Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing STD problem in the sunny city include,
- The Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis rate in 1996 was 293.1, compared to 406.9 in 2015.
- The HIV rate in African American males is 4 times higher than that for Caucasian men.
- The majority of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents occur in women ages 15 to 24.
The state still relies on abstinence based programs, even though studies have shown them to be ineffective at lowering teen pregnancy and STD rates. While students are taught medically accurate information regarding HIV and how it can be spread, they are still ill prepared to deal with the risks and responsibilities that come with being sexually active.
It is not uncommon for students that receive abstinence based information to feel ashamed and embarrassed that they are sexually active. The same studies that found that these programs are ineffective also discovered that it can make teens reluctant to seek help if they believe that they might have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
Adding to the problem is the fact that these programs are not regulated by the state, and this means that almost any group or agency that is approved by the public school district can present the information as long as it is abstinence based.
Local health officials cite several reasons why STD rates are rising at such an alarming rate in the city and surrounding county. Two are lack of clinics and education.
Feelings of shame and embarrassment can make it difficult for some people to admit that there might be a problem with their sexual health. Others simply do not believe that they could ever contract a STD. This mistaken belief is making it easier for STDs to be spread, especially when they don’t display any immediate signs or symptoms.
Advances in health care have made it possible for the city’s large number of retirees to stay sexually active longer.
Lake Monroe is fun, any time of the year, but STDs are not. You know how important screenings are, so why are you waiting. Call a private lab and miss the often hectic public clinics. You won’t have to miss work or any other activities you might have planned.