The Polk County and Lakeland city health departments state transmitted diseases reported annually is rising.
As of 2015 the number of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Infectious Syphilis cases reported in the county surpassed state averages.
While health department officials expected to see high Chlamydia rates in teens and young women, they were not prepared for the number of men that test positive for Gonorrhea. Over the last ten years the percent of males ages 15 to 24 that contract Gonorrhea has more than doubled. Older men are also testing positive for HIV/AIDS and Syphilis with alarming frequency.
Teens and young adults continue to be among those with the highest risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but statistics indicate that this is changing. Men over the age of 25 are seeing an increase in their risk for contracting STDs, especially infectious Syphilis and HIV/AIDS. This is particularly worrisome for health officials that previously thought that these two STDs were under control.
Even though the rates of infection for sexually transmitted diseases are up across the county, there is still some good news. Older women are testing positive less often for all STDs, which indicates awareness and education are helping. Some of the statistics that show there is still a problem with STDs in the community include,
- In 2015, the STD rates for Polk county was 10 percent higher than national averages.
- The STD rate for residents ages 15 to 24 increased 62 percent in the two year period from 2014 to 2016.
- The county and city reported an HIV rate of 334.1 per 100,000 residents in 2015.
Even though studies are showing states that require their public schools to offer comprehensive sex education classes are seeing a decrease in STD rates, Florida still actively promotes abstinence and the benefits of “monogamous heterosexual marriage”. Referred to as “abstinence plus”, critics are citing this as one of the main contributing factors to the rising STD rate in teens.
As long as sex education is limited in city schools, the STD rate in teens will continue to rise.
Regular Herpes testing in Lakeland is the best way to prevent the contagious virus from spreading through local high schools. Regular HIV testing in Lakeland is important for everyone’s continued good health.
There are several factors affecting the STD rates in this bedroom community. It’s close proximity to Tampa is one contributing factor, especially among younger adults that frequently spend time in the city. It’s not hard to forget how easy it is to spread and contract STDs, when you are enjoying yourself at one of the city’s “happening” clubs.
An increase in illicit drug use among older adults is thought to be partially responsible for the sudden and dramatic rise in new HIV and Syphilis infections. Adults over the age of 50 are also staying sexually active longer, and this is also increasing their risk for contracting an STD.
There is no denying that if you want to protect yourself from the spread of STDs is to be tested regularly. HIV clinics and mobile testing centers are 2 options, but not your only ones. STI clinics can give you results, sometimes in one day, and it’s private and affordable.