Since the city of Elgin is only 35 miles from Chicago and lies in Cook and Kane counties it is not particularly surprising that the percentage of residents who test positive for a sexually transmitted disease is higher than other areas in the state. Each year the number of positive diagnoses continues to climb, and statistics show that this has been an ongoing problem for several years.
In the last two decades the number of residents who are positive for one or more sexually transmitted infection has risen dramatically, and this includes all ethnicities and age groups. Teens and young adults are no longer the only ones with a higher risk, adults in the 35-44 age bracket are also testing positive more often.
In Kane County alone the Chlamydia rate was reported at 303.7 per 100,000 residents, and Gonorrhea was at 42.7 percent. HIV/AIDS is the most alarming with a rate of 120.0 per 100,000 people. These statistics do not include Cook County, which the city is also located in.
It is these and other statistics that have health officials concerned about the risk all residents are facing, and until they are able to convince everyone about the importance of being checked for all STDs on a regular basis the rate of infection will continue to rise. Some of the statistics residents in the city should be aware of includes,
- In 2009 Cook County reported 35,531 Chlamydia incidents with Kane County showing 1,419.
- 2005 saw a Gonorrhea rate of 228.7 compared to 247.9 in 2009.
- Between 2005 and 2009 Syphilis incidents rose from 462 to 634 in Cook County alone.
In 2013 the state enacted a law which now requires all public school districts to include comprehensive and medically accurate information in its sexual education programs. This is good news for health professionals who have been concerned about the growing number of teens and adults that test positive for sexually transmitted viruses each year.
The new law doesn’t prohibit teaching students about the importance of abstinence, but it does give teens other options concerning birth control and the use of contraceptives. Even though some parents and law makers do not agree with this new approach to slowing down the spread of STDs, everyone does agree something needs to be done to protect students and other residents from the dangers of these diseases.
While schools are now required to teach students about the dangers associated with engaging in unprotected sex, it should be noted that there are still not any course guidelines that schools need to follow. Simply requiring that the information needs to be “medically accurate” does not mean that all districts will include everything students need to know.
For example, regular Herpes testing in Elgin is important if officials want to stop the spread of the virus in area schools, but not everyone will receive this important information. Regular HIV testing in Elgin is also important, especially since this is the only proven method of accurately detecting the virus.
Since the new sexual education program for middle and high school students has only been in effect for a couple of years it is still too soon to see if it is helping to lower the number of sexually transmitted infections in area residents.
Teens and young adults are still among those with the greatest risk and until everyone understands how these diseases are spread, along with how to protect themselves the number of residents 18 to 24 years old will continue to test positive more often than other demographic groups.
Along with a lack of education, there is also a shortage of neighborhood health centers. Recent cuts to health care have resulted in many clinics being forced to close their doors. Without a convenient health care that is also affordable, many residents simply cannot pay for or easily get to a facility that provides testing.
Religious and conservative values also play a key role in the city’s high STD rates, and can often make it difficult for teens and young adults to find the help and support that they need. The city’s close proximity to Chicago is also contributing to the growing health problem. It is not uncommon for residents to engage in risky behavior in the city, and bring a sexually transmitted infection back to this suburban community. This is also thought to be one of the reasons that Syphilis rates are rising again.
A day spent relaxing on the Fox River or visiting the zoo at Lords Park can make anyone forget about the dangers they face every day regarding their sexual health. Even those who are not sexually active are still at risk, and many do not even realize that they have a STD until they are tested. Being tested for all sexually transmitted diseases is important for everyone, and now there is a faster and more convenient to take care of your sexual health. You can easily schedule confidential STD testing at a lab with one phone call. This way you don’t have to wait in line and you will still have plenty of time to fish, golf or simply relax.