Additional STD Test Statistics in Great Falls, MT
While STD rates are on the rise in Montana, the state is better than most. This is according to prevention specialist Judy Nielsen from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
“For Syphilis in 2016 we ranked 48 out of 50 for the least number of cases, for Gonorrhea we ranked 39 out of 50 for Chlamydia we ranked 31st,” Nielsen said. Nielsen says the spread of syphilis has become a growing concern. 2017 is setting a record pace for the disease.
“Since 2008 Syphilis has averaged less than eight cases, it was in the single digits for close to a decade. Now, since 2014, we’ve been in the double digits. We had 14 cases in 2016 and now, already in the first three months of 2017 we’ve already had ten.”
Although STD rates continue to rise in Montana, the state is unlikely to catch up to the national average. STD rates are rising at a faster pace throughout the country.
We see recent data that shows gonorrhea cases more than triple in Missoula County as statewide spike continues. This is according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
State officials said the gonorrhea caseload has roughly doubled in each of the past two years to 845 cases in 2015. In comparison Montana tracked 433 new cases in 2014 and 224 new cases in 2013.
Jim Murphy is chief of the department’s Communicable Disease Bureau. He said the department is troubled about what is happening in population centers in Montana.
Murphy said the alarming data about gonorrhea shows the increasing numbers of cases means that the medical community is doing a better job of identifying cases. “Once you find a case of gonorrhea, a good health department is going to find additional cases because of the follow-up work,” Murphy said, adding that testing, too, is better now.
But the spike in numbers is too great to say that it is simply better detection. It is clear that the disease is being transmitted more often, he said.
The number of chlamydia cases reported in 2015 was similar to the prior year, but the general trend continues to show a gradual increase with more than 4,100 cases reported. Two other major STDs are holding steady, without the alarming increase that is visible in the gonorrhea data. There are currently 19 new HIV cases reported in 2015, one of which involved a person relocating to Montana and the other 18 of which involved Montanans.
STD Testing and Sexual Health Education in Great Falls, MT
In Montana state law requires sex education. School boards at the local level decide which subjects this education must cover.
The local school board also decides at which grade level topics are introduced. This must cover that abstinence is the only completely effective protection against unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
There is no requirement to teach about contraceptives, condoms, and other related subjects. By law in Montana education must cover STDs and HIV/AIDs. A student does not need permission from a parent to participate in sex education or HIV/AIDs education classes.
Public schools in Montana recently were asked to implement a no bullying provision. Some schools now include protection for students based on sexual orientation and gender.
There are statewide anti discrimination laws. They do not clearly include sexual orientation or gender identity. State hate crime laws do not include sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Office of Public Instruction’s 2016 Montana School Health Profiles Report found significant gaps in sex education across Montana. As an example, 19 percent of high school and middle school lead health education teachers received professional development on human sexuality during the past two years.
That is compared to 73 percent of high school and 68 percent of middle school lead health education teachers who want professional development on human sexuality. Montana recently updated its health enhancement standards, which are vague when it comes to sex education.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in Great Falls, MT
Demographics play a role in the high STD rates in your city, surrounding region, and the state. Concerning HIV, the number of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2014 was 548 in the state. The rate of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2014 per 100,000 people was 64.
Of these 85% of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2014 were men, and 15% were women. A demographic is that 3% of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2014 were black, 5% Hispanic/Latino, and 81% white.
Those who are 15 to 24 years old are the demographic for men and women that shows the highest numbers and rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea. About half of all new STD diagnoses are among young people.
Compared with older adults, sexually active people ages 15 to 24 are at higher risk of getting an STD. However, we should also keep in mind that the Center for Disease Control notes increases in senior citizen population STDs. Since 2007, incidence of syphilis among seniors is up by 52 percent. Chlamydia is up 32 percent. Senior citizens are sexually active and practicing unprotected sex. Medicare now offers STD screenings for seniors.
Factors in the growing numbers include Americans are living longer and healthier lives with an interest in sex. Viagra and similar pills are another factor as are progesterone and estrogen creams for older women.
As you get older, your immune system tends to weaken. You can be more prone to infection. This can be a concern also if a senior has an STD, is fighting it off, and could become more vulnerable to another infection.
STI Testing Resources in Great Falls, MT
Fortunately, there are facilities in your city and area that can help you with STD education, testing, and treatment. The Great Falls Health Center/Planned Parenthood is one option.
The staff is trained to help you with your situation and offers STD testing, diagnosis, and treatment including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Additionally, they provide testing and diagnosis for HIV and testing, diagnosis, and treatment for bacterial vaginosis, genital warts, herpes, and trichomoniasis.
STD prevention services include condoms, HPV (Gardasil) vaccines, hepatitis B vaccines, and STD/safer sex education. The facility tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia using a urine sample.
If this test shows an infection, then you will get treatment and an explanation of how your partner can be treated. Rapid HIV testing is done by swabbing the inside of your mouth with results available in 20-40 minutes.
This health center supports and welcomes clients regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or biological sex, including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex clients. All services are provided in a respectful and professional manner.
Keep in mind that in your area there are urgent care centers. One of the less talked about but highly used services of such a center is STD testing.
Whether testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes, HIV, syphilis or any other disease or condition, these STD screenings you can use to help you. You can find online reviews about these centers to help you decide to use one including a service in your city.
PlushCare is another service you could use. It is a private service.
Cascade City County Health Department Great Falls is another facility that can help you. This clinic offers:
Rapid HIV Blood Testing
Rapid HIV Oral Testing
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Better Sexual Health in Great Falls, MT
Whether you go to Planned Parenthood, a high school counsellor or nurse at an area high school, an online service, or a clinic or hospital, you can find in your area information about STDs, testing, and treatment.
While STD rates are high in your city and area, help is available in your area in the way of testing and treatment that is confidential, discreet, compassionate, and effective. Consider how the staff at these facilities is trained to help someone like you, especially with the staff at Planned Parenthood or any other facility reminding you to check your health, improve it, and keep yourself healthy by always using a condom to practice safe sex.
You can get information about STDs, testing, and treatment if you go to a counsellor or nurse at at an area school. One such school is Great Falls High School. You can also get such information from a hospital such as Great Falls Clinic Hospital. Here are links to resources mentioned.