Recently released statistics show that the city and surrounding area are seeing an increase in the number of STDs reported each year, and that this trend has been occurring for the past twenty years.
It seems that the city is currently seeing higher than average STD rates, and health officials do not expect to see these numbers improve until everyone understands how important it is to get tested regularly.
While health officials were not surprised to see that the number of reported STDs was rising in the city and surround Kent County, they were startled to learn that the rates of infection were significantly higher than the state average. Recent statistics show that while the overall number of new infections is down across the state, the opposite is true in Kent County.
Between 2012 and 2014 the total number of sexually transmitted infections is steadily rising. It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea that are presenting a significant health crisis, but primary and secondary Syphilis incidents are increasing as well. This disease that was previously thought to be under control is now making a startling comeback in teens and older adults.
Some of the recently released statistics that are causing city and health officials concern include;
- From 2012 to 2013 the total number of sexually transmitted diseases reported in the area climbed 27 percent.
- In 2012 the overall rate of STDs in the county was 692, compared to 760 per 100,000 residents in 2014.
- The state average rate of infection in 2014 was 568 per 100,000 residents compared to the county’s percentage rate of 760 in the same 12 month period.
While it has been proven that the best way to prevent the spread of STDs is to educate students and residents about the dangers associated with engaging in unprotected sex and the importance of regular testing, the public school system in Grand Rapids still follows the federally funded abstinence only program.
Even though abstinence is the best way to prevent teen pregnancies, it does little to slow or stop the spread of some STDs. Without comprehensive education programs in place in the classrooms, city leaders can except to see the STD rates for the area continue to rise.
The lack of sexual education programs is also contributing to the growing number of older residents who are testing positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis, along with the increase in Herpes outbreaks. Not all sexually transmitted diseases are strictly passed through penetration during intercourse, which makes it extremely important for everyone to get tested on a regular basis.
Not only can some STDs be spread through casual contact, but some may not display any noticeable symptoms making it easy to unknowingly spread a sexually transmitted disease. Regular Herpes testing in Grand Rapids can help prevent the spread of the virus, and early treatment can also reduce the number of embarrassing flare-ups. Regular HIV testing in Grand Rapids is also vital to your continued good health, and the simple test could help save your life.
Demographics will always play a role in the STD rate for a certain area, and this includes social and economic factors. Age and gender also factor in, along with education.
Kent County and Grand Rapids do not have a comprehensive sexual education system in place in the school system, and this is contributing to a higher STD rate. Not only are teens not receiving the education they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, the lack of knowledge is leading to certain mistaken beliefs that makes it difficult for health officials to convince young adults of the importance of regular testing.
Lower income families often find it difficult to afford regular testing, and a lack of community health centers in these neighborhoods is also contributing to the problem. Some residents do not believe that they are at risk of contracting a sexually transmittable disease, and others simply do not care that they lifestyle choices are putting others in danger. As long as residents do not understand how important it is to get tested regularly, health officials will continue to deal with high infection rates.
Other demographical factors include the strong conservative beliefs that are prevalent in the area, along with certain religious views that promote abstinence until marriage. While this has helped to lower teen pregnancy rates, it has had the opposite effect on STD rates. Until teens and adults can discuss sex openly and honestly, the city will continue to have a health problem.
Before heading out to catch a hockey game it is important for residents to take a few minutes and take care of their sexual health. With STD rates rising in the city, it has never been so important to get tested regularly. While there are community health centers open to the public, the long lines and fear of running into a familiar face has many residents looking for a more convenient option. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one quick and easy phone call, and only spend 20 minutes or so at the local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to enjoy a day in the city.
STD rate in Kalamazoo and Kent counties rises