Famous for its football team, avid fans and freezing weather, the city is also becoming known for its high rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Even though state and CDC statistics indicate that the rate of infection is slowing down in the city and surrounding Brown County, this does not mean that residents don’t need to worry about their sexual health. As of 2013 it was estimated that 994 residents out of every 100,000 tested positive for a STD during that year.
Overall women were twice as likely to contract a STD as men, and this is mainly due to the high percentage of Chlamydia diagnoses. This STD is not only the most commonly reported in the state, but also in the city and county. African Americans account for the majority of cases, while Hispanics and Caucasians test positive for a sexually transmitted infection less often.
Where Green Bay differs than many other large cities are its high rate of infection among American Indians. While this is due to the large Native American population in the area, it also highlights how far health officials still need to go in order to ensure everyone in the city understands how important regular screenings are if they want to prevent the spread of all sexually transmitted diseases.
Some of the statistics released by the health department concerning the city and county include,
- In 2011 the STD rate for African Americans was 3,615 per 100,000 compared to 2,447 per 100,000 in 2013.
- Native Americans are also seeing a decrease in the rate of infection with 1,661 per 100,000 in 2012, compared to 675 per 100,000 in 2013.
- The rate for HIV infections in Brown County has remained steady at 73 to 78 per 100,000 residents for the past five years. (2011-2015)
In response to the alarmingly high STD rates across the state, law makers passed a bill requiring all public schools to teach sexual education in the classroom. The growing number of teen pregnancies, along with students and young adults that were testing positive for any of the commonly transmitted sexual diseases was seen as a strong sign that abstinence only classes were no longer working.
After peaking in 2011 the STD rates have been dropping, and this is good news for health officials and law makers who pushed the sex education bill through amid plenty of protest. Now that students understand the risks and dangers associated with engaging in unprotected sex, along with all of the various methods these diseases can be spread the rates are decreasing across the county and state.
This is not to say that abstinence is not effective, and educators still present it as one of the best methods of preventing unplanned pregnancies. What these classes are teaching is that abstaining from sexual activity is not always enough to prevent you from contracting a STD. The classes also stress the importance of regular HIV testing in Green Bay, especially since the rates for this virus are still relatively high. This is also true regarding regular Herpes testing in Green Bay since it is still the most common virus found in area schools.
Green Bay has a unique demographical makeup that is evident in its STD rates. While it is like most of the rest of the nation regarding the risk sexually transmitted diseases pose to the African American community, it differs with its high rate of infection among Native Americans. This has led to some unique challenges for health officials concerning the best way to ensure everyone in the city understands the importance of regular STD testing.
In answer to this problem state law makers made it mandatory in 2010 for all public schools to offer sexual education classes that include current and pertinent information on how to prevent the spread of all STDs. In the last few years the state and city has seen the number of sexually transmitted diseases decrease each year, along with teen pregnancies. While this does indicate that the programs are working, the rate of infection is still high among certain ethnicities.
Part of this is due to cultural and religious beliefs that believe abstinence is the only method of protection teens and young adults need. Even though this will prevent pregnancy, it will not stop the spread of all STDs and it can also give young adults a false sense of security. As long as residents continue to believe that a STD can never happen to them the rate of infection will continue to rise across the city.
It’s understandable that you don’t want to spend a day waiting in line at community health facility, especially during football season just to get tested for a STD you might not even have. Regular testing throughout the year is important for your health, and now there is a faster and more convenient way to get screened for all of the sexually transmitted diseases. With one phone call you can easily schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes in the privacy of a local lab. This way you can stay on top of your sexual health and not miss a minute of a Packers football game.