Over the past twenty years county health officials have seen the number of sexually transmitted disease rise at an alarming rate. It is not only teens and lower income residents that are affected by the growing number of STDs reported annually, but older residents are also testing positive more often.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incident rates are up in young women and men, and more teens as showing the tell-tale signs of Herpes more often. Older men that are financially stable are contracting primary and secondary Syphilis with increasing frequency, and HIV/AIDS rates are also on the rise. The statistics released by the state and Middlesex County Health Department also show that sexually transmitted diseases can affect everyone.
Even though some community leaders point out that the Chlamydia rates are currently lower than state and national averages, the data indicates that at the pace they are increasing this won’t be true for long. One of the best methods to slow the spread of this infectious disease and prevent it from infecting others is to have testing centers available for residents to go to.
Like most other cities across the county this small township is also seeing STD rates increase in young adults. African Americans ages 18 to 24 are among those with the highest risk of infection, followed closely by Caucasians. Some of the other recent statistics that show how dangerously high the STD percentages are rising include,
- The number of Chlamydia incidents has been steadily rising since 2007.
- In 2015 the Chlamydia rate for the county was 229 per 100,000 residents compared to 202 reported in 2011.
- HIV rates were reported at 290 per 100,000 residents in 2015, compared to 282 in 2011.
The state of New Jersey does require its public school districts to include medically accurate information regarding the spread of HIV/AIDS, but these classes also stress the advantages of practicing abstinence. While abstinence can and will prevent pregnancies it is not effective at stopping the spread of STDs.
Included in these programs is information on how contraceptives often fail and students leaving these classes often believe that condoms are useless and cannot provide them with protection. Not only is this information wrong, it is also dangerous. While it is true that contraceptives can occasionally break, this does not mean that they are not extremely effective at preventing pregnancies and the spread of STDs.
Added to the problem with the township’s current sex education program is that students can easily opt out of the classes with a parent’s permission. When this happens teens do not even have the chance to learn about the dangers of HIV.
Regular Herpes testing in Edison is also not covered in the current classes, and this is being blamed for the high rate of infection among teens. Regular HIV testing in Edison is briefly discussed, but the importance of this simple procedure is often overlooked. Until teens and young adults understand how important it is for them to take care of their sexual health the number of infections will continue to rise.
There are several demographical factors that are contributing to the high rate of STDs across the state, and especially in this historic township. One of the main ones is a lack of state and federal funding which has forced the closure of many clinics. With fewer places for residents to go to it can be difficult for them to get the health care that they need.
The budget cuts when combined with the broadening of Medicare to help Americans afford insurance has had the opposite affect when it comes to regular STD testing. Not only are the tests not covered under federal guidelines, the rising cost of the procedure has made it difficult for many residents to afford.
The federal healthcare program also excludes immigrants, and this is being blamed for the rapidly rising STD rates in Hispanic men and women.
Along with major problems in the current health care system the lack of comprehensive sex education programs is also contributing to the problem. Some classes actually include information that is misleading or outdated so students do not know how to protect themselves.
Many leave high school already infected with a venereal disease, and it is not uncommon for them to not even know that they have a STD. Until sweeping changes are made in Edison, residents will continue to be at risk for contracting any of the STDs.
While it is easy to forget about the town’s STD problems when you are enjoying the peace and quiet of Ambrose Brook this does not mean that you do not need to be tested for all of the sexually transmitted diseases. It is understandable that you don’t want to spend the entire day cooped up in a cramped waiting room, and now you don’t have to since you can schedule confidential STD testing. It only takes one simple phone call and a few minutes of your time at a local lab, and you can feel good knowing that you took responsibility for your sexual health.