Teens and young adults account for the majority of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections, and women ages 18 to 24 are among those with the highest risk. The statistics also show that the number of men that test positive for Gonorrhea is rising, and is only one percent lower than that for females. Health officials predict that in the next couple of years the Gonorrhea rate in men will have surpassed that for women.
When it comes to HIV infections the city and county have the third highest rate in the state. While some counties reported no new cases in 2013, the number of infections jumped significantly in the area. Men ages 20 to 24 are among those with the highest risk, but this does not mean that they are the only ones testing positive.
Primary and Secondary Syphilis incidents are also on the rise and men over the age of 25 accounts for the majority of new cases reported in the area. As the rates for Syphilis, HIV and the other commonly transmitted STDs continues to rise it becomes even more important for residents to get tested.
- There were 741 cases of Chlamydia reported in 2015 for a rate of 370.
- 2015 saw 92 new cases of Gonorrhea reported in the city and county.
Currently the state does not require its public schools districts to offer sex education, and this is putting students’ health at risk. While districts are required to provide students with information on HIV and other STDs when and how this information is provided is left up to the individual schools. Recently a coalition of health and educational groups put together a recommended curriculum for school districts but they are not required to use it.
The proposed new curriculum would include information on contraceptives, including the proper use of condoms. Medically accurate information on how all STDs can be spread would also be discussed. Most importantly teens would learn that regular HIV testing in Duluth is critical. Regular Herpes testing in Duluth would also be addressed.
Budget cuts to the county’s health care system has forced many STI clinics to close their doors, and is making it difficult for residents to afford regular testing since it is no longer covered by Medicaid.
The lack of sex education in the public schools is leaving students unprepared to deal with the risks and responsibilities associated with being sexually active, and this includes understanding why it is so important to be tested for all STDs on a regular basis. The lack of comprehensive sex education is being blamed for the 7 percent increase in Chlamydia cases that occurred between 2014 and 2015. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the majority of the city’s residents believe they only need to be tested if they know that there is a problem.
Take a ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad or visit one of the city’s other fascinating museums. Maybe go by a center for an std test, there’s a good chance there’s a lab along the way. It won’t take long if you utilize a private lab, there are several. Discreet and accepting insurance, it is worth the short minutes it takes for you to be in and out the front door.