The CDC and Volusia County Health Department recently released some sobering statistics regarding the number of sexually transmitted diseases that are reported in the area each year. According to the statistics the STD rate is rising, and has been for the last twenty years. While the statistics do show that the Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis rates have been up and down since 1994, they are currently indicating a spike in the number of STDs reported in the city and surrounding county.
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 for the county 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.
When it comes to sex education in the classroom 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. This means that most teens never learn how important regular HIV testing in Deltona is or that the simple procedure could potentially save their life. The same is also true regarding regular Herpes testing in Deltona, even though it is the best way to prevent the spread of the contagious virus.
Local health officials cite several reasons why STD rates are rising at such an alarming rate in the city and surrounding county. The lack of comprehensive sex education is one of the main contributing factors, but it is certainly not the only one.
A shortage of STI clinics in the city is making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested, and the long lines that are common can make it hard for people to find the time. Budgets cuts and changes to health care are also affecting the area’s STD rates. Now that the simple procedure is no longer covered under Medicaid many of the city’s lower income residents are finding that they can’t afford the testing fees.
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. Since the majority of them do not realize that their behavior could be putting them at risk, it is relatively easy for them to contract a sexually transmitted disease.
Before heading off to Lake Monroe 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 don’t want to wait in a long line at a community clinic, and now there is a faster and easier way to take care of your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing on only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you can take responsibility for your sexual health and still have plenty of time to enjoy a day at the beach.