Considered part of the San Francisco Bay area it is not surprising that the city of Hayward has a relatively high rate of sexually transmitted diseases, but statistics show that the percentage is much higher than health officials expected.
While the number of reported cases has been rising across the nation, no one was prepared to see the high rates for the area. It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates that are rising, but primary and secondary Syphilis numbers are also climbing. This is especially concerning, considering most health professionals considered the disease to be under control, and on its way to being eradicated.
The statistics also show that it is not just teens and young adults who are at risk, but older men are also testing positive for certain sexually transmitted diseases more frequently than in previous years. The data also indicates that this trend has been ongoing for the past twenty years. With STD rates increasing in all ages groups and ethnicities, it has never been so important to remember to get tested regularly.
Some of the statistics that indicate STDs are on the rise in the area include,
- Between 2005 and 2014 the number of men who tested positive for Syphilis more than doubled.
- In 2005 the percentage rate for men with Gonorrhea was below 600, compared with well over 700 in 2014.
- While Chlamydia rates for women are slowing down, in 2014 the number of men infected was more than twice the state average.
- African Americans have the greatest chance of contracting a STD over other ethnic groups, according to 2014 statistics.
Sexual education programs are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of STDs, and California has just adopted new legislation. While previous programs used outdated medical information and left the majority of facts of out, the new classes cover every aspect concerning how STDs are spread.
Even though abstinence is discussed in the new educational programs, the classes also cover all of the various types of contraceptives. This not only helps to keep the teen pregnancy rate at an all time low, it is also helping to slow the spread of some sexually transmitted diseases.
Parents are allowed to excuse their children from sexual education classes in the city schools, and this has lead to a gap in public awareness. Until everyone in the city understands how important it is to their overall health to get tested regularly, STDs will continue to be a problem in Hayward.
One area that the new comprehensive classes appear to be working is the number of Herpes infections reported in public high schools. The virus can be found in almost every school, but when students know that regular Herpes testing in Hayward is important the infection rate starts to decline. It is even more important for regular HIV testing in Hayward, since the infection rate for the area is on the rise.
The city’s close proximity to San Francisco plays a large role in the area’s high STD rate, along with other demographical factors.
It is not uncommon for area residents to bring a sexually transmitted disease back from the city without every realizing it. A large number of residents commute back and forth for school and work, which exposes them to new risk factors. Intravenous drug use is also on the rise among older middle class men who commonly live in the area and many health officials feel that this drug use is the main contributing factor to the rise in primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses in Caucasian men over the age of 45.
Many of the area’s residents are still feeling the effects of the recent economic slowdown, which can make it difficult for them to afford regular testing. The same is also true for lower income families, who often have the added difficulty of finding a testing facility.
Feelings of hopeless or the mistaken belief that a STD will never happen to them, is one of the constant contributors to the growing number of teens who test positive for a venereal disease. Older residents often do not realize that they are at risk due to a lack of accurate information, and many personal health care providers still do not recommend that their patients get tested.
Until everyone realizes how important this test is at least once a year, the number of residents who contract a sexually transmitted disease will continue to increase.
With all of the action of the bay nearby, along with plenty to do right in the area it is easy to forget about taking care of your sexual health. The number of STD incidents are on the rise, and the only way to protect yourself is to get tested. Many residents are choosing to make a simple phone call to schedule confidential STD testing, instead of standing in the long lines common at the clinics. You can easily avoid the long waits and possibility of running into a familiar face and only spend 20 minutes or so at an area lab, which still gives you plenty of time to enjoy the Japanese Gardens at sunset.