In Hudson County there is an STD rate of 51 for every 10,000 people; this translates to 3,282 STD cases. AIDS has been a problem in Hudson County since at least 1996. Between 1998 and 1999 the rate of AIDS diagnoses was 32. At that time there was only one other county in New Jersey that had more reported cases of AIDS than Hudson County, with the reporting of 180 additional AIDS cases.
While in 1996 there were only 5,110 cases of AIDS in Hudson County, by 2000 the number of reported cases was 6,267, with HIV cases increasing from 1574 to 1861. Since then, rates have continued to soar in the city. STD rates in Hudson County were growing rapidly, with 11 cases of syphilis reported, and 103 of gonorrhea were reported, as well as 186 cases of chlamydia.
Of all the counties in New Jersey, Hudson ranked fourth in chlamydia and syphilis, and sixth in gonorrhea diagnoses. Hepatitis A is more prevalent in Hudson County than Hepatitis B, with one case of B reported by 2001 and seven cases of a reported.
In 2004, one case each was reported of primary syphilis, secondary syphilis, early latent and late latent syphilis. There were 20 cases of gonorrhea reported and 78 cases of chlamydia. By 2013 there were more cases of primary and secondary syphilis diagnosed in Hudson County than anywhere else in New Jersey, illustrating the complex problem.
For years schools throughout the city have emphasized sexual education to their students. In 2010 Hoboken High School conducted a workshop open to students and community members on having open discussions about sexual health. The workshop was run by the New Jersey teen Prevention Education Program, designed to help students teach other students about safe sex. The program involves participants determining their values in regards to sex and increasing their comfort level when talking about the subject.
Much of the focus in the city has been on educating people through the use of family health centers. College medical centers are also an area where the prevention of STDs is emphasized. They will administer HIV and hepatitis B tests for free. Other STD tests may require a free to be paid.
The emphasis on sexual education in this city spreads to others in the state of New Jersey as well. The goal of sexual education facilitators is to make sex a topic that young people can freely discuss with their parents. Counseling and education is available to those who have contracted an STD as well as their family and loved ones.
The county’s prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology is also involved in educating the community on sex and the risks of STDs. While students enrolled at the University can get STD testing from the school they also have options off campus where college students are tested and treated for various STDs along with others in the community.
Many people in the city are homeless and/or undereducated and this has contributed to the city’s soaring STD rates. While the majority of the city’s residents are well-educated upper middle class, STDs are a problem within both demographics. Despite the city’s efforts to educate its residents on STDs and how to prevent contracting them, many living in the area are suffering from one STD or another.
As Hoboken has become a trendier county than it was in the past it is now attracting millennials, not all of whom are practicing safe sex. One of the reasons so many millennials are moving there is that they are relocating from New York City because they are looking to settle down and raise a family. It is now seen as a family friendly neighborhood, despite the local STD rates.
Larger counties in New Jersey have more medical centers and facilities than Hudson County does, which is one thing that is likely contributing to the soaring rate of STD diagnoses. As millennials continue to take over Hudson County, it remains to be seen if the rate of STD diagnoses will rise or fall as a result.
While the quality of health care facilities in Hudson County may or may not improve, efforts are being made to make residents more aware of the dangers of STDs and what they can do to prevent them. Many residents find themselves traveling into New York City to get better access to STD testing. The facilities in New York City are generally able to accommodate more patients seeking STD tests than the average facility in this city is able to do.
The sexual health of Hoboken residents is major concern for the city. With STD rates that are often higher than that of neighboring counties, it is possible that there are not enough facilities in the city equipped to treat those suffering from and STD. Due to the high number of HIV and AIDS cases reported, organizations such as Hoboken University Medical Center are taking the necessary steps to ensure the community has access to proper resources in which they can obtain STD testing, treatment and counseling. Only time will tell if their efforts will result in change.