This small city started out as a rural agricultural community and has now become an industrial hub. Even with this keeping population growth down to a minimum the area is still dealing with an abnormally high STD rate.
Statistics recently released by the CDC indicate that the rates for all sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, and this includes Syphilis and HIV/AIDS. While health officials admit that the recent statistics cover the county and not just the small city alone, this does not negate the fact the all sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise.
In the ten year period from 1995 to 2014 the number of Chlamydia incidents nearly doubled, and the same is also true for Gonorrhea rates. Herpes and Syphilis rates are slowly starting to decline, especially in younger men, which is always positive news. Unfortunately this is balanced by the growing number of women who are now testing positive for these two sexually transmitted diseases, and this has health officials concerned. Typically Gonorrhea and Syphilis rates are higher in men, but this is not the case in surrounding King County.
The statistics also indicate that young adults are still among those with the greatest risk of contracting a STD, along with teens. Some of the other data that is causing health officials to consider taking more proactive steps to prevent the spread of STDs in the area include,
- In 2014 females accounted for half of the Gonorrhea incidents in the county.
- Gonorrhea rates increased from an estimated 80 per 100,000 residents in 2013 to well over 100 per 100,000 residents in 2014.
- Even though statistics show that Syphilis incidents are decreasing, men under the age of 30 still account for the majority of the diagnoses.
In response to the ever increasing number of residents who test positive for a STD, city and county officials have elected to update the information taught in the sexual education courses taught in the public school system. While the state only requires schools to educate teens on the benefits of abstinence and HIV/AIDS prevention, King County has taken it upon itself to implement a new medically accurate and comprehensive program.
Started a few years ago, health and city officials are already starting to see some positive changes in the area’s STD rates. Gonorrhea and Syphilis diagnoses are down in men of all ages and ethnicities, and the Herpes virus is also slowing down in local high schools. Part of the new curriculum includes current information on all of the ways STDs can be spread, and this is being touted as one of the main reasons fewer residents are testing positive for a sexually transmitted disease as often.
This does not mean that regular Herpes testing in Kent is still not important, and it remains the best way to completely stop the spread of the virus in the local school system. Regular HIV testing in Kent will always be the best method of detecting this potentially deadly virus, and currently this is the only way to see if you are infected.
Even though this bedroom community is largely industrial, it is still dealing with a high STD rate. Part of this is due to a lack of community health centers, with many of the clinics in the area being forced to close its doors due to encroaching industry.
In response to this problem the local public schools are now including current information on the spread of STDs and the various effective methods of prevention. This includes the use of condoms and other contraceptives. While abstinence is still taught and encouraged, this new program is starting to have a positive effect on the area’s STD rates.
Women are still testing positive more often for any number of the sexually transmitted diseases and much of this is being blamed on erroneous misconceptions. It is not uncommon for women to feel ashamed or embarrassed to be seen at a local health clinic, especially one that deals primarily with venereal disease prevention and treatment.
Some teens and even adults still believe that STDs can only be transmitted through sexual activity, and that they are immune from the infections if they have only had one partner. The slightly remote location along the White River can make it difficult for health officials to reach everyone, and the city’s close proximity to Seattle and Tacoma are also contributing to the area’s STD problem.
Before going for a boat ride on Lake Meridian or heading over to Seattle for dinner and a show, it is important to take a few minutes and think about your sexual health. STDs are still a problem in the area, and only you can take responsibility for your sexual health. There are a few health facilities open to the public, but the long lines and crowded waiting rooms has many residents hoping that there is a more convenient way to get tested. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend 20 minutes or so at a local lab.