The rates in this area are high enough to cause alarm for local health department officials. In a joint effort to determine who is the most at risk for these major health threats, local hospitals, physicians offices and STD testing centers provide data to local health departments and the Center for Disease Control. No personal information that could be used to identify an individual is submitted so your confidentiality is strictly protected. Demographic data that includes age, gender, area of residence, financial status and ethnicity is included. Analysts and statisticians use this information to find out who has the highest risk so educational campaigns can be developed to reach the most at risk populations to curb the spread.
The following statistics represent the numbers of positive test results which have been reported for specific sexually transmitted diseases per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 415.0
- Gonorrhea- 60.2
- Syphilis- 6.7
These numbers are high, but they are most likely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the actual numbers of persons who are infected with STDs. They only represent the number of positive test results for those who have been tested. Health department officials believe that if everyone who is at risk for STD infection would get tested, the numbers would be much higher. This is one of the main drivers for the current effort to expand sexual health education to all at-risk populations as quickly as possible.
There are many people who should get STD testing, who are not even aware of their predicament. Statistics show a trend towards a rise in teen infection rates. This has spurred public health authorities to lobby for mandatory sexual health education in all of the public schools in the state. These courses are given to students just prior to the age in which some of them will begin sexual experimentation. The curriculum includes factual information about the consequences of unprotected sex along with unwanted pregnancy and STD infection. They also learn about what to look for with regard to symptoms and where to go if they suspect that they have been infected. Upon completion of the courses, students know where they can go for a Herpes test and for HIV testing in their community. While education people at a young age is helpful, it doesn’t cover the entire scope of the problem.
Not all people who are at in high risk groups for STD infection are aware of the potential danger that they are in. Those who live at or below the poverty level are at the greatest risk. This is because many have not had exposure to sexual health education, nor do they have the resources to seek testing and/or treatment. Since not all STDs present symptoms in the early stages, many people may not know that they are infected, which can lead to a greater spread of the diseases.
Although private and confidential STD testing is available, some people without health insurance and without finances to pay for testing may not be able to get it as soon as it is needed. Free STD testing centers rely upon grants and special funding sources which come through in cycles. When funding is depleted for the time period of the grant, some potential clients are forced to wait until more funding becomes available. This severely limits the available public access to quality health care.
With regard to ethnicity, statistics show that Blacks have the highest rates of STD infection, followed by Whites, then Hispanics in the majority of the categories of types. Chlamydia is twice is high for women than for men and is seen predominantly in the 20 to 24 age group, followed by those 15 to 19 and those 25 to 29 coming in third. Gonorrhea rates are slightly higher in males with the highest rates being for those age 20 to 24, then 15 to 19. Syphilis is seen more often in men who participate in male to male sex with a high incidence of dual diagnosis with HIV and Chlamydia. This information is available because of the efforts of reporting agencies and the Center for Disease Control professionals who put the data together annually. This is a service to help protect the sexual health of the nation.
If you have had unprotected sex with a partner whose monogamy cannot be confirmed, then you are at risk for STD infection. Ordering the testing is quick and easy. With just a brief trip to a local STD testing center, you can complete your confidential STD testing process and have your results on the way. Friendly and professional staff will greet you and can answer any questions that you may have. If you feel that you are at any risk for STD infection, you owe it to yourself and to everyone that you love and cherish to complete your STD testing. Avoid the complications in fertility and overall health that can arise from putting it off. You’ll enjoy greater peace of mind if your test results come back negative. If they are positive, you can get the treatment that you need.