Statistics recently released by the CDC and Douglas County Health Department indicate that some STD rates are at an all-time high. What is even more alarming is the fact that the statistics show that the percentages have been rising over the last twenty years.
Chlamydia rates are higher than they have ever been in the last two decades, and the number of Gonorrhea incidents reported each year have risen by 5 percent. Even primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses are up, and the same is unfortunately true for HIV rates. According to the recent statistics the rates for all STDs have more than doubled from 2002 to 2015.
Teens and young adults are among those with the highest risk, but they are no longer the only ones. In the last five years the number of adults over the age of 25 that test positive for a STD has risen significantly. The majority of infectious Syphilis incidents reported each year occur in older adult males, and this is also true for HIV/AIDS.
While men account for the majority of Syphilis, HIV and Gonorrhea cases, women are at the higher risk for contracting Chlamydia, genital Herpes and infectious HPV. African and Native Americans tend to be at a higher risk for contracting a STD, followed closely by Caucasians. Since the statistics show that all demographical groups are at risk, it only makes sense that everyone starts taking responsibility for their sexual health.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing STD problem in the city include,
- In 2013 the Chlamydia rate for African American residents was reported at an alarming 960.1 per 100,000 residents.
- The Chlamydia rate for Douglas County in 2013 was reported at 521, compared to the state average of 384.
- From 2013 to 2014 the Syphilis rates for the area increased by 23 percent and Gonorrhea incidents rose by 5 percent.
In response to the rising STD rates state lawmakers have recently taken some proactive steps in an effort to slow down the rising incident rate. The newly revised program now includes information on safe sex and the importance of always practicing it, along with how all of the various STDs can be spread.
It should be noted that parents are not required to allow their children to attend these classes, and that there will not be a penalty if they chose to “opt” their child out of the program. Due to the increase in available information many parents are choosing to do so. This is unfortunate since this means that these students will not be given the tools they need to protect themselves from all of the sexually transmitted diseases.
For the students that do not receive the necessary information they won’t learn how important regular STI testing is or that they can still contract a venereal disease even if they are not sexually active. This means that many students will not participate in regular Herpes testing in Lawrence, and the virus will still be allowed to spread at an alarming rate. They also won’t learn how important regular HIV testing is or the fact that the simple procedure could potentially save their life.
The city can blame its high STD rates on several demographical factors that include a lack of education, though steps have been taken to help ensure teens and young adults have the tools they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. While this is a positive step towards lowering the STD rates, until every student is allowed to receive the necessary information residents sexual health will continue to be at risk.
Recent budget cuts to community health care programs are also contributing to the problem. Many STI testing centers have been forced to close their doors due to lack of funding, and the ones that are still open have limited hours of operation. This has resulted in long lines that most residents choose to avoid. The budget cuts have also affect low income families since STD testing is no longer cover by Medicaid. This has left many residents unable to pay for the simple procedure, even when they suspect that they might have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
Teens and young adults that are sexually active often feel like there is no one they can talk to. This can be a serious problem if they think that they might have contracted a sexually transmittable disease. Many are afraid to admit that there might be a problem and never get tested. Until these and other issues are resolved the small mid-western city can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
The number of STDs reported each year is rising and this means that it is important for you to take care of your sexual health. There are STI clinics located in the community, but it is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in a long line. Now you can avoid the long wait and still take care of your sexual health simply by calling to schedule confidential STD testing. This way you only have to spend a few minutes at a nearby lab and you can still make the game at Allen Fieldhouse.