Health officials have recently released statistics showing city and state STD rates, and there is a good reason they are worried. Over the past twenty years the number of sexually transmitted infections has been on the rise, and now that state has some of the highest percentages in the nation. With numbers continuing to climb, some state health officials are warning that it could soon turn into an epidemic.
The number of residents who are living or have diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is one the rise, especially among young African American males. Teens and young adults are also at a higher risk of contracting Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, especially women under the age of 24.
What really has health officials concerned is the growing number of people who are testing positive for primary and secondary Syphilis. This potentially deadly disease was at an all time high in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but until recently health officials thought that it had all but been eradicated. With STDs rising among all demographics it has never been so important for residents to schedule regular STD testing.
Some of the statistics that has state and county health officials concerned include,
- In 2007 the HIV rate was estimated at 33.9 per 100,000 residents, and the city ranked 10th in the nation.
- Statistics released in 2012 showed that African Americans were 15 times more likely to contract Chlamydia than Caucasians.
- The majority of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections were reported in women under the age of 26.
Even though research has shown that city’s with comprehensive sexual education programs typically have lower STD rates, the city of Jackson, MS still relies on the “abstinence only” program recommended by the federal government. Not only has this program shown to be ineffective at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections, it also uses terminology that many teens and adults are finding offensive.
Due to a lack of pertinent information included in the program, along with many parents choosing to keep their teens out of classes that use terms that are considered derogatory, many students are unaware of the risks associated with not being tested for all of the STDs regularly. The government funded program does not address how sexually transmitted infections are spread, only that abstinence will prevent teenage pregnancies. While this is true, refraining from having sexual intercourse will not prevent teens from contracting a STD.
Not all sexually transmitted infections are spread solely through intercourse which makes abstinence ineffective at preventing all diseases. Some can be passed through casual contact, which makes it important for students and parents to understand the importance of regular health screenings.
Scheduling regular Herpes testing in Jackson is important to stop the spread of the virus in area schools, and this is also true for HIV. Regular HIV testing in Jackson is critical for continued good health, and the painless procedure could also help to save your life.
Jackson, MS has a diverse demographical makeup which helps give the city its charm, but this is also contributing to the area’s high percentage of reported STDs.
Statistics show that African Americans are 15 times more likely to contract certain sexually transmitted infections that other racial groups, and this is partially due to differences in neighborhoods. Areas that are historically “black” often have a shortage of community health centers, and many of these neighborhoods are also populated by lower income residents who often find it difficult to afford regular testing.
Along with an inability to pay for health screenings there are also the stereotypes that come with certain sexually transmitted diseases. This often makes it difficult for residents to admit that they might be infected. African American men often feel shame and embarrassment, which leads to them ignoring the warning signs associated with most STDs.
The city staunch conservative and religious beliefs are also contributing to the problem, especially since this makes it difficult for there to be any open and honest discussions about sexual activity. Simply believing that the problem doesn’t exist because it is not being discussed will not protect teens and young adults from the dangers of engaging in unprotected sex.
Other demographical factors contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted infections include residents living longer and healthier lives. This often results in them being sexually active, which puts them at a greater risk of contracting an infection. Until everyone realizes how important it is to schedule regular STD screenings, the number of residents who are infected each year will continue to rise.
There is plenty for residents to do in the historic city of Jackson, but it is also important to remember to take care of your sexual health since the number of reported STDs is on the rise. While there are some health centers located around the city, many residents are still choosing to put off the important test. Now you can avoid the long waits and potential embarrassment of running into a familiar face by scheduling confidential STD testing with one simple phone call. Instead of waiting in line you can spend a few minutes at a local lab, and still have plenty of time to explore this gracious southern city.