In the area, the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted disease is by far and away Chlamydia. Chlamydia rates in the region of Cook County (the county in which the city is located) are at about 727.3 per 100,000 in present day. However, those rates in Evanston were significantly lower in the past. In 2006, for example, Chlamydia cases were found at about 308.2 cases per 100,000 people. This increase in Chlamydia cases seems to exceed both statewide and national trends, and Cook County has a much higher Chlamydia rate than both the state and country.
In addition to having elevated rates of Chlamydia, HIV is also a commonly detected and diagnosed STD around the city and county. The rates of HIV are at about 607.6 cases per 100,000 people. Historically, between the years of 2000 and 2008, the number of people in the area that were diagnosed and living with HIV doubled. The increase in rates over time is troubling and the continued high rates are also worrisome.
Gonorrhea is also an issue of note. The rate of Gonorrhea cases is at around 230.8 people per 100,000. While this indicates that Gonorrhea is a much less problematic than either Chlamydia or HIV, it is still an issue in the area and residents should be aware and cautious of Gonorrhea as well as the more common STDs. In addition to these three STDs, there are some cases of Syphilis reported annually. However, the rates are quite low at around 13 per 100,000.
Illinois is one of the few states in the United States that have extensive requirements for sexual education coursework in public schools. The reason for this is that the state considers sexual and reproductive health to be a significant public health concern and wants to ensure that citizens of all ages are aware of the ways that they can keep themselves healthy and get tested.
In fact, some schools in the state start lessons about HIV and AIDS in early elementary school so as to take away the stigma of talking about the virus at an early age giving children an early understanding of how the illness affects people.
Evanston Public Schools has a health curriculum in late elementary school that introduces students to the basics of reproductive health and related anatomical terminology, puberty, and an early introduction to the reproductive and sexual health issues that affect children as they go through adolescence.
However, the bulk of sexual education coursework begins in middle school. Middle schools offer a comprehensive sexual education course as a part of the health and wellness curriculum that places an emphasis on what is termed “family life instruction” as well as a focus on recognizing and avoiding sexual abuse and understanding the types of sexual abuse that can occur.
It also focuses on all aspects of sexual health including STD prevention, testing, and treatment. Parents are given the option to examine the sexual education course materials and opt their children out of all or some aspects of the coursework if they feel it is inappropriate in any way.
When it comes to the demographic influence on STD testing and rates of STD detection, age seems to be one of the most important factors of consideration. Historically and even in present day, the highest concentration of people in the area with Chlamydia were between 15 and 24 years old. In fact, 71 percent of those cases were in this age demographic. Throughout the state of Illinois as a whole, the rates of Chlamydia were also highest among African American residents but numbers were elevated for all racial demographic groups.
Gonorrhea had similar rates and greatly affected young adults more than any other demographic group throughout the area. In terms of HIV, the rates were highest among males. In between 2000 and 2008 over 70 percent of reported HIV cases were among males. Of the HIV cases reported in males and females alike, the largest percentages were among non-Hispanic African American and Hispanic peoples.
With all of this in mind one thing is perfectly clear, you need to take the time to make your sexual health a priority in your life. Luckily, the process is easier than ever in today’s day and age. Testing is quick and easy and the results can be ready fast, and sometimes, in the case of HIV testing, rapid results can be done in minutes. All you need to do next is contact a Free STD Testing Center and schedule yourself a confidential screening appointment. Less than an hour out of your life can get you the answers you need to get both peace of mind and the treatments that you may need to ensure that you know your STD and sexual health status and that you are properly managing it going forward. So, make the call today!