The health department has access to good information about the general health of its residents. Data passed on to the CDC for analysis and report generation gives an overview of the financial and physical health of the population. From these reports, information on specific disease rates can be seen at a finger’s touch. In addition, trends and patterns that indicate risk factors can be seen. This is all possible because of the collaborative efforts of health care providers and the health department in forwarding demographic data along with testing results. The following table shows the rates of STD infection per 100,000 people in this area.
- Syphilis (all stages) -21.1
- Gonorrhea – 159.4
- Chlamydia – 468.8
The Syphilis and Gonorrhea rates are remarkably high when compared to other cities in the nation of comparable size. The determined risk factors remain consistent over the past five years with a rising trend in teenagers testing positive for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. The ages are slightly older for those with Syphilis and Gonorrhea. Women have double the rates for Chlamydia than men and men have slightly higher incidences of Gonorrhea and Syphilis infections.
High concentrations of people who live at or below the poverty level are believed to be an influence on the frequency of testing in this area. Those who lack access to sexual health education and resources for obtaining quality health care are less likely to get STD testing. One benefit that exists for those with state assisted health care programs is that the women who undergo prenatal healthcare receive screenings for STDs routinely.
In addition to a lack of financial resources, some people avoid getting tested because they feel embarrassed to go to their private physicians or a designated STD testing center. This is where education becomes so very important. When people begin to realize that these clinics take every precaution to preserve client anonymity and confidentiality, they are more inclined to schedule a visit.
The data that has been collected shows definite patterns with specific groups testing higher for certain types of STDs. This is useful in planning effective strategies for reaching at risk populations with the information that they so badly need. The current data shows that Blacks, then Hispanics and Whites, in this order have the highest rates across the board for all monitored STD according to ethnicity. Those in lower income brackets present more frequently than those from more affluent backgrounds.
These are compellling reasons to continue gathering demographic information. It is vital for evaluating risk factors and infection rates. Analysts do not fully understand exactly why rates are higher in certain groups, but it is assumed to be because of social attitudes and behaviors that are consistent within the groups. There is no need to be concerned about your personal information being shared because you are fully protected by current laws on confidentiality in medical testing. The only reason that demographic data is being collected is to plan for better ways to predict risk factors and follow up with the needed resources to help control the spread of infectious disease of all types.
Public education programs that target students in public schools, pregnant women and other segments of the population are all helpful outreach tools, but there are still people who are unaware of their personal risks and of the help that is available to them. Additional public informational programs are needed to get more people in for testing and when warranted, treatment.
If you or someone you know is concerned about sexual health, there are options out there for you. If you are embarrassed to see your personal doctor, there are STD testing clinics that will provide you with outstanding confidential testing services. They strive to make your visit as comfortable as possible. It is as simple as ordering your testing which is a simple process that doesn’t take up much of your time. The next step is to follow up with a visit to a local lab for the actual testing. It will take between 15 and 20 minutes of your time and the staff will answer any questions that you have. Getting testing done as soon as possible has a few different benefits. The first is that if there is an infection, you can get treated more quickly to avoid damage to your sexual reproductive organs, and secondly, you’ll feel a wave of relief afterwards.