There is a concentrated and coordinated effort being made by local hospitals, std testing centers and private physicians to collect and report information about STD testing in the region. Demographic data including age, place of residence, gender, race and STD type are included. Client privacy and confidentiality are strictly maintained so no one may be identifed by the information shared. The purpose of data collection is to forward the results to local health departments and the Center for Disease Control so analysts may include it in a nationwide database to determine which groups are the most at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and what types. The following information includes the rates of STD infection per 100,000 persons in the region.
- Chlamydia- 516.5
- Gonorrhea- 124.0
- Syphilis- 21.7
Although these numbers are high enough, they only represent figures for those who have been tested for STD infection. Health department officials believe that if everyone who is at risk for STDs would get tested, these numbers would increase dramatically. This is the impetus behind the drive to reach the populations who need to be informed about their risk, where to go for testing and how to prevent STD infection.
Analysis of the demographic information shows that people are testing positive for STD infections at younger ages. This has fueled the current effort to reach younger populations with factual information. The state has implemented mandatory sexual health education in the public schools. This is delivered to young people just prior to the age at which some may begin sexual experimentation. Information about the risks and consequences of unprotected sex including unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are included in the curriculum. After completing sex education classes, students will know where to go for a Herpes test or for HIV testing. They will also know some of the signs and symptoms which are associated with these conditions. This is a great effort, but there are other populations who are at greater risk and must be educated. This is why public health consortiums have been developed to help spread the word about the STD epidemic and where to go for testing and treatment.
Poverty is believed to be a factor involved in establishing rate of risk for STD infections. This is because there are many persons who live at or below the poverty level who may not have had the opportunity to receive sexual health education. It is possible for a person to be infected and not know that they are spreading the disease. Not all STDs present with symptoms in the early stages. In addition, fewer financial resources limit the options for receiving quality medical care including STD testing and treatment.
While it is true that there are free STD testing centers available, most of them depend upon annual block grant funds to assist persons of low income status. If the funds become depleted, many will have to wait until they are replenished to receive financial assistance with testing.
Studies show that each type of STD has its own characteristics and shows up differently among certain populations. Chlamydia is diagnosed twice as often in women than in men. People in the 20 to 24 year age group have the highest rates, followed by those who are age 15 to 19, and then by those age 25-29. With regard to ethnicity, Black populations have by far the highest rates, followed by Whites, then by Hispanics.
Gonorrhea rates are slightly higher for men than for women. Those age 20 to 24, followed by 50 to 54, the those age 25 to 29. Syphilis is more common in men who have male to male sexual encounters and is often accompanied by dual diagnosis of HIV, Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, but it is found is people of all ages, genders and from all walks of life.
If you have had unprotected sex with a partner whose monogamy cannot be ensured, then you may be at risk for STD infection. The statistics show that persons who are of Black heritage are at the highest risk, particularly those who are in the 20 to 24 age groups for Chlamydia, but these are averages that have been based upon the information that statisticians have to work with. If you believe that you are at risk, the common sense approach is to get tested. Private and confidential STD testing is available for you. If you cannot afford the testing fees, go to a clinic that will base costs upon your income level.
STD testing is easy to order and it will just take a few moments out of your day to visit a local lab to complete the process. You’ll find that friendly staff will assist you in completion of the procedure and they will answer any questions that you may have. For just a few minutes of your time, you can have your results on their way so you will know for certain. If your results are positive, then you will be able to get started on the treatment that you will need. If they are negative, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that you get from knowing. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to protect your sexual health.