Statistics recently released by the CDC and Riverside County Health Department indicate that the number of STDs reported annually is rising, and have been for the past two decades. This has left some residents wondering if something should have been done sooner to help the protect their sexual health.
The incident rate for all commonly transmitted sexual diseases is increasing across all demographics, and this has health officials particularly worried. In previous years STDs were mainly a problem for teens and young adults, but recent statistics show that older residents are testing positive at an alarming rate.
Chlamydia is more prevalent in women, especially among those under the age of 25. Statistics for the desert valley indicate that these rates are rising, and the city currently has one of the highest percentages for infection in the area. Unfortunately this is also true regarding Gonorrhea and males.
Not only are men more than twice as likely as women to test positive for Gonorrhea, but they also have an increased risk for contracting Syphilis and HIV/AIDS. It is not only teens and males in their early twenties that are testing positive more often, but men over the age of 25 are finding that they are also at risk.
According to a recent headline in the LA Times the STD rates for the state, including this small city, are at the highest they’ve been in 25 years. Some of the other statistics that emphasize this growing health problem include,
- From 2005 to 2015 the Gonorrhea rate for men has doubled and surpassed that for women.
- Statistics for 2015 show that men over the age of 45 are among those with the highest risk for contracting early, primary and secondary Syphilis.
- African American women ages 22 to 24 test positive more often for Chlamydia than other demographic groups, according to 2015 statistics.
The state is one of the few that requires all public school districts to offer comprehensive sex education classes to students. Starting in the 7th grade and continuing through high school, the classes include age appropriate information geared to helping teens understand the changes taking place as the enter and go through puberty.
The information presented to the students must be medically accurate and pertinent to teens, and the classes cannot use material that is abstinence based.
While this is being touted as a positive step towards helping teens protect their sexual health, and lower the state’s high STD rates, the statistics indicate that there are still problems.
Since the new requirements for sex education were only implemented at the start of the 2016 school year, not every district has material that is approved by the state. Budget cuts to education has left many school districts unable to afford new material, and this means that students are still not receiving the information they need.
Regular Herpes testing in Indio is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of this virus, especially in area high schools. Thanks to federal education requirements students do learn about the importance of regular HIV testing in Indio, unfortunately not everyone is following this advice.
The city’s remote location in the desert valley is one of the factors contributing to the area’s high STD rates. There are very few STI clinics in the area, and this is making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to be tested. Adding to the problem are the recent budget cuts to health care. This has resulted in fewer hours of operation, along with staff cuts and this has made regular STD testing more inconvenient than ever.
Lower income residents in particular are the most affected by recent and previous budget cuts, especially now that STD testing is no longer covered under Medicaid. For many residents the testing fees are more than they can afford to pay.
Even though the state now requires public schools to teach comprehensive sex education classes, the lack of available information is still being named one of the main contributing factors to the city’s high STD rates. Since there are not any oversight committees in place, many school districts have not yet compiled with the new regulations. This is leaving many teens unprepared to deal with the risks and responsibilities that come with being sexually active.
As long as these and other problems remain unresolved the city can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
Before you head off to one of the city’s annual festivals or try your luck at the nearby casino, it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STD incidents reported each year are rising, and this means that regular testing should be a part of your routine health care. It is understandable if the long lines and crowded waiting rooms at the community clinic are the reason you’ve been putting off this important screening, and now there is an easier way to get tested. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health, and still have plenty of time to enjoy this fascinating city.