The Center for Disease Control maintains a database of STD testing results on a national scale. Data for each person who is tested is included. Names, social security numbers and other personal information are not shared because of strict laws that protect privacy. Only information that is useful in determining risk factors and rates are shared. These include age, gender, ethnicity, area of residence, income level, type of STD tested for and the results. By using this type of information, analysts with the CDC are able to figure out which groups are reporting the highest positive rates. Reports generated with the information are helpful in developing strategies to help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The statistics below are the number of cases of STD infections per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 509.6
- Gonorrhea- 75.2
- Syphilis- 11.0
Syphilis cases are nearly two points higher in the county of LA than they are in the neighboring Riverside county. It ranks number one of all counties in the nation. It also ranks first for Chlamydia. Women are diagnosed with twice the frequency that men are and the most common age for both genders is in the twenty to twenty four age group. Gonorrhea is more common with men who have slightly higher numbers than women. Of these men, those who have male to male sex are at the highest risk. These men also have higher incidences of Chlamydia and Syphilis infections simultaneously Data collection helps in determining risk.
The information that is collected for each client is helpful in putting together an overall picture of what is happening with the STD crisis. It shows patterns that include consistently higher rates among particular age groups, genders, ethnicities and financial statuses for certain STDs. African Americans have the highest rates for each type of STD addressed here with Native Americans/Native Alaskans coming in second and Hispanics coming in with the third highest rates for this region.
Because trends and patterns in the spread of STDs has been identified, it gives health officials an idea of what type of strategies will work the best in reaching those in the greatest need. Poverty is an indicator of risk. This is because there is generally a lack of financial resources to get testing and treatment. In addition, the people in this group may have less exposure to education and information that would help them to better care for their sexual health.
Even though the public schools provide mandatory sex ed classes to all students, the numbers for teen infections are still very high, coming in second for Chlamydia. After completing these courses, they will know where to go for Herpes or other STD testing, but many of them are not using these resources. This means that more needs to be allocated to reach teens and provide testing and treatment for them.
Education is the only hope for slowing the growing STD rate. This must be followed by citizens who are willing to take responsibility for their own sexual health by getting tested and if necessary, medical treatment. The state offers government sponsored assistance programs for low income families who are in need of medical testing and treatment.
The greatest obstacle to getting tested for some is a lack of knowledge. Some do not know that they are at risk or may even be infected with an STD. Not all of these diseases have symptoms in the beginning stages so the only way to be certain is to have the testing done. There are people who may be embarrassed and afraid that someone they know will find out that they were tested. Current privacy laws are designed to prevent anyone from finding out unless you tell them. Staff at STD testing clinics are discreet and professional. They are bound by law and ethics to keep your information completely confidential.
The greatest risk factor for STD infection is having unprotected sex with somebody who has an STD. You cannot tell by looking and they may not have any noticable symptoms. If you have multiple sexual partners then you are increasing your risk exponentially. This is particularly true if your partners also have sex with other people. Living in a high risk area also ups the odds. The solution to the problem is to get tested so you will know for sure. Ordering the testing is very easy and you’ll just need to take 15 minutes of your time to visit a nearby lab to finish the process. You’ll have your results quickly so you can either get the treatment that you need, or enjoy the relief in knowing you are sexually healthy. Take the time to learn about safe sex practices so you can join forces with others and become a part of the solution to the immense problem of STDs. You owe it to yourself and to everyone who loves and cares for you.