Denver is experiencing a spike in the yearly reported STDs, and unfortunately health officials do not see this trend improving.
While city and state health officials were not surprised to learn that Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections were still the most common, especially among women, they were surprised to see that Syphilis cases were on the rise in young adults. In 2010 the number of new diagnoses of first and secondary Syphilis had gone from 20 to an alarming 138. Adding to city officials concerns is the fact that Denver County has the highest rate of Syphilis incidents in the state.
Other statistics that are causing alarm in the Mile High City include;
- In 2010 Denver and the surrounding area had the highest rate of Chlamydia infections in the state at 925.
- Women between the ages of 20 to 24 had the highest rate of Chlamydia infections, followed by teens ages 14-19.
- Between 2000 and 2013 the number of Syphilis diagnoses rose steadily in men ages of 20 to 24.
- In 2013 men ages 20 to 24 had a higher rate of Gonorrhea infections at 459.4 compared to men that were older or younger.
While some health officials point out the some STDs did see a slight decrease among some demographics, the overall statistics show that the city of Denver is experiencing a health crisis.
Unlike some school systems in the country, Denver does have a sexual education program implemented in its city schools. While the program does require parental consent, which is not always given, the statistics show that STDs are still on the rise among teens and young adults.
Part of the reason for this is the lack of standardized education programs, with many pushing abstinence while others simply cover the symptoms of STDs without detailing the causes. Many teens and young adults are not aware that it is possible to catch some sexually transmitted diseases without engaging in intercourse, and others do not know that not all STDs exhibit symptoms immediately. Syphilis and HIV often do not exhibit symptoms until the disease has progressed to potentially life threatening stages, and it is extremely easy to contract Herpes from an infected person through some casual contact.
The lack of information concerning the importance of having protected sex is evident by the increasing number of teens that are pregnant, along with the rising rate of STDs in high school age students. Regular Herpes testing in Denver is important for students and adults to prevent embarrassing flare ups and to stop the infection, and it is also important to remember to be tested for HIV.
Regular HIV testing in Denver can not only help prevent the disease from spreading, the simple checkup can potentially save lives.
Demographics have always played a role in STD rates, and Denver is no exception. Income, religious and personal beliefs, along with the area you live in can all affect the STD rates in your area.
Denver’s lower income neighborhoods have always had a slightly higher percentage of STDs that more affluent sections of town, but recent statistics are showing that now the city’s rural areas are being affected.
City health officials believe that the greatest cause for the increase in STD rates in rural areas is due to a greater number of reported intravenous drug users which has caused Syphilis cases to rise significantly. When this is combined with the lack of available sexual education programs for residents, it is not surprising the STD rates for the past twenty years is on the rise.
Race and culture are also playing a role in Denver’s STD rates, and studies show that African American men have the greatest risk. Many African American men are simply too embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they have contracted a disease. The shame that many men feel makes it difficult for them to get tested, especially considering the long lines and crowds at the neighborhood clinics.
Until residents understand that there is no shame in getting tested regularly and better education programs are more readily available, Denver health officials can expect the number of reported STD infections to continue to rise each year.
The Mile High City is known for its easy access to great skiing and its Broncos football team, but Denver is also dealing with a rising number of reported STDs which makes it important to check your health regularly. Many residents are looking for an alternative to crowded clinics, and now there is one. Make a phone call, schedule confidential STD testing and make it to the stadium for the opening kickoff.