It has become impossible to ignore the rising rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the city and county. Over the last twenty years the number of STDs reported annually has been steadily climbing, and are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
According to statistics released by the CDC and King County Health Department, this centrally located city is currently dealing with an STD crisis.
Chlamydia rates are rising in women, and more men are testing positive for Gonorrhea each year. Diagnoses for early Syphilis are also increasing in men. The good news is that HIV rates are decreasing slightly in women, but the same is not true for men regardless of their sexual orientation. These statistics also show that not all residents are taking their sexual health seriously.
The same data that shows the STD rates for the city and King County, also indicate that the majority of residents have never been tested. This alarming statistic only highlights the growing problem with STDs in the community.
Other statistics indicate the while teens and young adults typically are among those with the highest risk for contracting Herpes, HPV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, residents over the age of 25 are almost twice as likely to test positive for infectious Syphilis and HIV/AIDS.
Some of the other statistics recently released that also highlight the growing STD problem in the city and the need for regular STD testing include,
- During the first four months of 2015 there were 664 cases of Gonorrhea reported, compared to 848 in the first quarter of 2016.
- During the first four months of 2016 there were already 2,393 new Chlamydia diagnoses in the city and surrounding county.
- 2016 has already seen 148 incidents of early Syphilis in the first four months.
Even though there are reports that students could begin learning about sex and gender identity as early as kindergarten, these rumors are false and the state does not currently require public school systems to include sex education programs in its curriculum.
This means that the majority of public school districts in the city and county do not provide its students with any more information than what is currently required by federal law.
Teens are taught medically accurate information on HIV/AIDS and on how the potentially deadly virus can be spread. Students also learn that STDs are typically contracted through intercourse, and that abstinence is the best way for them to protect themselves. Unfortunately this information is not correct since STDs can be spread by a variety of methods that do not always include engaging in any type of sexual activity.
Teens and young adults also do not have the information they need to protect themselves, and this is one of the reasons that STD rates are so high in residents ages 15 to 24.
It is not uncommon for residents to not understand how important regular HIV testing in Federal Way is, not only for their health but also for those around them. Students also need to learn that regular Herpes testing in Federal Way is just as important, and that it is the first step towards stopping the spread of the virus in area high schools.
City and state health officials can point to several reasons why the STD rates are so high in the area, but the main contributing factor is the lack of education in the public school systems.
Students are often graduating not understanding how STDs are spread, and most do not know that there are steps they need to take to protect their sexual health. It is not just that teens and young adults do not understand how important regular STI testing is, many do not even realize that they can significantly lower their risk simply by using protection every time they engage in sexual activity.
The lack of adequate STI clinics is also contributing to the problem, along with changes to Medicaid. Fewer health centers means that it is more difficult for residents to find a place to get tested, and the ones that are open often have long lines that no one wants to spend the day standing in. Changes to Medicaid has made it difficult for many residents to afford the cost of regular STD testing, even if they think that they might be infected.
Unless local and state leaders are willing to make changes to the sex education policy currently in place in public schools, and improve the city’s health care system the number of STDs reported each year will continue to rise.
Before you decide to spend the day boating and fishing on Puget Sound or head into Seattle or Tacoma for some shopping it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that it is important for everyone to get tested for these diseases on a regular basis. If you don’t want to spend the day at a local STI clinic there is an easier way for you to take care of your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a conveniently located lab.