Des Moines, IA is rich in friendly people and fun activities. You may enjoy a trip to Blank Park Zoo or the botanical gardens. Perhaps a trip to the events center or the many farms which have animals and artisan crafts on display would suit you. The area is teaming with plenty to do, but amidst the great times available here is a growing concern over the STD rates in the area. Cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, Herpes, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C are reported annually. This puts the sexual risk of residents who engage in unprotected sex at risk. STD clinics are available to provide private testing and for those who are at a financial disadvantage, there are free STD testing centers. Ordering STD testing is easy and it only takes about 15 to 20 minutes of your time.
Each hospital, physician’s clinic and STD testing clinic provides useful data on STD testing to the CDC. Demographical information such as age, gender, ethnicity and region are given without releasing and info that can help to identify individuals. This helps in maintaining strict confidentiality for the clients while giving the CDC useful information for generating reports that show who is at the highest risk for particular STDs. The following numbers are the reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the region per 100,000 persons.
- Chlamydia- 371.5
- Gonorrhea – 65.5
- Syphilis – 2.3
These are the cases which have been reported. It is believed that the actual numbers are much higher. There are likely to be many people who are infected and have no idea that they are because some forms of sexually transmitted disease have few or no symptoms in the early stages.
When STDs go untreated they may cause pelvic inflammatory disease, cause harm to newborn babies and lead to cancer. This provides the impetus for the CDC and local health professionals to try to get the word out about sexually transmitted diseases and the dangers of having unprotected sex. The only way to know for certain if you have an STD is to be tested.
The efforts to educate the public about sexual health come from a few different arenas. Government sponsored programs provide for mandatory sexual education in the public schools. This is an attempt to reach youth just prior to the average age when some will begin sexual experimentation. The hope is that the knowledge of the dangers and consequences of unsafe sex will serve as a deterrent. Students are given information on where to go if they have the symptoms or suspect they may have contracted an STD, for example, for a Herpes test or for HIV testing.
STD clinics often sponsor informational seminars featuring experts on sexual and reproductive health. Literature is also distributed in an attempt to get the word out to the public. Even though these activities are helpful, more has yet to be done to reach the majority of the population.
Populations which are at or below the poverty level tend to have higher incidences of sexually transmitted diseases. It is believed that the reasons for this are a lack of exposure to educational resources and limited financial ability to seek testing and treatment. The data which has been compiled by the Center for Disease Control shows plainly that certain forms of STD are higher in specific groups of persons.
Women have the highest incidences of Chlamydia infection that is two and a half times higher than that of men. The most common age grouping is 20 to 24 years of age with those in the 15 to 19 year age group showing an increase in cases. Black females are the ethnic group with the highest rates followed by Hispanic females and then Whites.
Gonorrhea rates for this area is highest for females in the 15 to 19 age group. This represents a shift in the average age of infection from the 20 to 24 year age group to women who are still in their teens. This trend is happening after the implementation of mandatory public school education on sexual health. What it could mean is that more teens are being tested because of the new information that they are receiving.
Incidences of Syphilis infections are much higher in men than they are for women. While females have a .6 rate, the number for males is at 6.3, showing a remarkably higher rate by comparison. Male to male sexual activity has an impact upon these numbers.
Although there are options that are available for STD testing, there are segments of the population who are either unaware that they should get tested, or cannot afford the fees involved. There are alternatives for free testing for those who qualify based upon annual income guidelines, or reduced rates. While these options are generally on the table, there are periods when the funding may be exhausted in between funding cycles, requiring those in need to wait for a later date.
Everyone who suspects that they may be at risk for an STD infection should get tested. With rates in the Des Moines, IA area high, it pays to be safe. There are STD clinics available that can provide fast testing with results in a short period of time. Ordering the testing is very easy and following through with a visit to the local testing lab takes less than a half of an hour of your time. Why worry when you can know for certain? Friendly staff are available to perform private and confidential testing and answer any questions that you may have. Following through can help you to have a greater peace of mind with less stress and worry. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to maintain the best possible overall health. Problems with sexual health can spread to affect your reproductive system and entire body. It’s best to be safe, take a few short moments to get tested and carry on to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city when you’re done.