STD rates are high and on the rise. Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, Hepatitis B and C and Gonorrhea cases are being monitored by county health department professionals. The sexual health of the city is at some peril for residents who are in high risk categories. The best remedy is for people in these groups to get tested. Private STD testing clinics are standing by along with free centers for low income clients, to offer these vital services. Ordering testing is easy and it only takes a 15 to 20 minute visit to a local clinic to finish the process.
The analysts and statisticians at the Center for Disease Control work hard to collect and assemble STD statistics for each state, county and metropolitan area in the country. They gather data from each region for inclusion in a nationwide database that shows STD rates for each metropolitan area, county and state. A joint effort between local health departments and health care providers makes it possible to include the number of tests administered with particulars including results, age, gender, ethnicity and financial status of each client tested. No personally identifying information is given out so the testing process is totally confidential and private. The following statistics show the rates of infection for certain STD types per 100,000 in population in this region.
- Gonorrhea- 72.6
- Syphilis (all types)- 4.8
- Chlamydia- 457.2
Hawaii is not the highest ranking state for STDs, but it does land somewhere in the middle for most types. The Gonorrhea and Syphilis rates are coming down, but Chlamydia is the predominant type that is still too high for health department staff comfort. Chlamydia is twice as high in women when compared with the rates for men, particularly for those who are of Black and Native ancestry.
CDC staff work diligently to analyze patterns in test results to find clues that help to identify the risk factors so they can inform the public about it. It is believed that the STD infection rates would show a big increase if everyone in high risk categories were to get tested. The majority of the problem with the rapid spread is that the people who may need testing and treatment the most are either unaware of this, or do not have the resources to get these services. People from financially disadvantaged backgrounds are at the highest risk because of fewer resources and a lack of education about sexual health. There is a tendency for them to be unaware of prevention methods and the resources that are at hand to help them.
Getting vital information and referrals to available help centers is one of the top challenges. Some things that are being done include mandatory sex ed courses in the public schools. Students learn about the potential consequences of unprotected sex including unwanted pregnancy and STD infection along with sign, symptoms and the resources that they can use if they do suspect an STD. They know where they can get a Herpes test or HIV testing. This practice has been ongoing for several years and the rates for teenagers has not significantly dropped, indicating that new strategies need to be implemented with those already in place.
All pregnant women are routinely screened for STDs when they go in for their prenatal care. This is a national standard to help prevent the incidences of babies being still-born or born with disabilities because the parent was infected and not treated. This strategy has helped to reduce the number of infections that are passed on from parent to child, but has not solved the problem.
The stats show that ethnicity, age, financial status and gender have some bearing on risk. Populations with the highest infection rates across the board are Blacks, Native Americans/Alaskan Indians and Hispanics. These trends have become more pronounced through the past decade of tracking and analysis as an upward rising trend. Women are diagnosed with Chlamydia, which is the most predominantly seen time at two to three times the frequency as men. Men have higher rates of Gonorrhea and Syphilis infection that women do and men who have male to male sex are at the greatest risk for Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV and Chlamydia.
Bringing the high number of STDs down is something that takes total involvement. It means taking the proper precautions for the prevention of infection and if you are at any risk whatsoever, it’s important to get tested. Private and confidential testing services are available for you. If you cannot afford the costs, locate a free clinic. You’ll be charged in accordance with your income level and you may qualify for free or reduced testing fees. Ordering the testing is very easy, and completion of the process just takes a few moments of your time visiting a local lab. Friendly and professional staff will assist you and answer your questions. It doesn’t take long for the results to arrive so you can enjoy greater peace of mind, or get any treatment that may be required if you do test positive. Maintaining your sexual health is important for you, your partner and for everyone who loves and cares about you. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll see how fast, easy and totally confidential STD testing is. If you have a friend who is concerned about their sexual health, encourage them to do the same.