Statistics recently released by the CDC and Pitt County Health Department are showing an alarming trend. The number of STD reported annually is rising, and have been for the past twenty years.
In February of 2016, the North Carolina health department stated that the STD rates for the county had reached their highest levels in 3 years.
Not only are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates rising, but those for Syphilis as well. This is particularly worrisome for health officials that mistakenly believed that this sexually transmitted disease was well under control.
Syphilis rates are not only rising in teens and young adults, older residents are also testing positive more frequently. African American males are among those with the greatest risk, especially those in ages 22 to 32. Men are also at a higher risk for contracting Gonorrhea, those these rates are climbing for women as well.
Chlamydia infections are rising in women, and in 2014 the county ranked the fourth highest in the state. The majority of new cases are occurring in teens, and this is also true regarding the Gonorrhea rate for men. Health officials warn that unless residents start to understand the importance of regular STD testing these rates will continue to rise.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing STD problem in the city include,
- In 2014 the county ranked fourth highest in the state for its high Chlamydia rate.
- The county and city had the third highest Syphilis rate in the state at 17.2 per 100,000 residents.
- Since 2010 the number of new HIV cases reported each year has increased by 31 percent.
Since the passage of the healthy youth act in 2009 most teens do receive at least some information on STDs and how to prevent these diseases, but that might soon change. A new bill is once again calling for changes in the state’s current sex education program.
Currently the material used in these classes must be presented by qualified personnel. Whether or not a person is qualified is determined by the “narrow” guidelines that are already in place, and this is what the new bill seeks to change if it is passed.
Loosening up the requirements would allow almost anyone to introduce material to students, and this means that teens might receive incomplete or inaccurate information when it comes to protecting themselves against STDs.
Already the public schools are allowed to decide if sex education classes will be offered. While they are required by federal law to provide comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS prevention, the same is not true regarding the other STDs. This is leaving the vast majority of students ill-equipped to deal with the risks and responsibilities associated with being sexually active.
If the new bill does pass the number of students who do receive accurate information will further decrease.
If all students learned how important regular Herpes testing in Greenville is, most health experts agree that the infection rates for this virus would begin to decrease. The same is also true regarding regular HIV testing in Greenville, especially since it is the only way to positively detect this potentially deadly disease.
Even though this isn’t the largest city in the state the STD rates are still higher than average. There is not one single reason for this instead there are several contributing factors.
One reason health officials are citing for the high percentage of residents that test positive for a STD each year is the lack of community health centers. This is making it difficult for residents to get tested on a regular basis. Long lines and crowded waiting rooms often mean that residents have to spend all day at the STI clinic, and for most this is simply not possible.
Adding to the problem are the recent budget cuts to health care. Not only has this forced many of the community testing centers to close, it is also affecting some residents’ ability to pay. Now that Medicaid no longer covers the cost of regular STD testing, many residents on a fixed income are finding that they can’t afford the fees.
The biggest contributing factor remains the lack of sex education in the public schools. While some do provide students with the information they need to protect themselves from STDs this is not true for the majority of them. Unfortunately if the new bill does go into effect, the number of teens that receive comprehensive sex education will dramatically decease. This will put everyone’s sexual health at risk.
With STD rates rising in the city it is important for you to take care of your sexual health. This means getting tested on a regular basis. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in a long line, and now there is a faster and easier way for you to take care of your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can easily schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a conveniently located lab. This way you can take responsibility for your sexual health and still have plenty of time to explore this beautiful city.