Every great city has its flaws and Fairfield is no exception. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B and C, HIV and Syphilis numbers are a cause for concern. The rates are rising and health department officials are working to develop strategies to bring the numbers down. The city offers STD clinics for confidential testing services. Free STD centers offer testing at reduced or no charge for clients who meet the income guidelines. The ordering process is easy and follow up with a local lab takes only between fifteen to twenty minutes. After this, results are on their way just that simply.
Because of the concern about high infection rates, the health department and Center for Disease Control are monitoring the numbers. This is done by collecting testing results data from all area health care providers and STD centers. They do not provide your social security numbers, names or any other data that could identify you, so your privacy is fully protected. Only demographic information is needed. This helps analysts to determine the characteristics of the people who are currently becoming infected, who has the highest rates and therefore, who is at moderate to high risk for getting an STD. The table below shows the current STD rates for this region, based on numbers per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 436.6
- Gonorrhea- 118.5
- Syphilis (primary and secondary)- 11.6
These alarming figures only represent the percentages in terms of persons who have actually received STD testing. There are many who are at a significant risk who have not been tested. It is believed that if all persons would get tested, the percentage of cases for all STDs across the board would increase significantly.
Poverty has been identified as a factor that inhibits the public from getting needed STD testing. There are a few reasons for this. People with low income levels may not have the financial means of getting the quality medical care that is needed. Even though there are free testing centers available, they may not be aware of their existence. A lack of education about sexual health is another factor. People who drop out of school may have missed out of sexual health ed which is a part of the public school curriculum. They may not know the risk that they are at or be aware of the symptoms of STD infection.
The rates for teenage STD infection are on the rise. Those who know they have been exposed are less likely to disclose the information to an adult for fear of punishment or because of embarrassment. These are factors which contribute to the issue of low testing rates.
The degree of risk is figured by assessing the characteristics of the populations with the highest rates in each STD category. Women have twice the incidences of Chlamydia as men. Men have higher rates of Gonorrhea and Syphilis infections. Men who engage in male to male sex have a higher frequency of not only testing positive for HIV infection, but also other types of STD including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis. Blacks have the highest rates nationally for all STD types, followed by Hispanics, then Native Alaskans/American Indians, then Whites and Asian. People who engage in sex with multiple partners increase their odds. The single risk factor which places any person of any ethnicity, sex, gender, age or socio-economic status is having unprotected sex. Anyone can get an STD. It is not limited to a specific group of persons.
The spread of STD infections can only be controlled when people become educated about the dangers of unsafe sex. When more people begin using safe sex practices and get regular testing as needed, the rates will come down. Until this time, health department officials are encouraging the implementation of strategies that include community education programs promoting facts about the dangers of unprotected sex, the distribution of literature, public service announcements and free counseling through a variety of clinics and other venues. Mandatory sexual health classes are provided in public schools just prior to entry to middle school. In addition, STD testing centers and free clinics have been established to meet the special needs of the residents of this area with confidential testing services. Some of them offer income sensitive or free services for those who meet the criteria.
If you are totally honest with yourself, based on the information above, you are best able to judge the degree of risk you are at. If you’ve had unprotected sex with a questionable partner then you are definitely at risk. It doesn’t mean that you are infected, but if there is any doubt in your mind whatsoever, then yes, you should get tested.
The process could not be easier. Start by ordering your STD testing, then follow up at a nearby testing lab so technicians can help you complete the process. You’ll only need to take between fifteen and twenty minutes of your time for this. You’ll be in and out in no time. Your privacy is protected and you’ll have your results quickly. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, you may ask the lab techs who are assisting you. You’ll be treated with respect and dignity by professional staff who understand that this can be a stressful time.