City officials can no longer ignore the high STD rate in the area after the CDC and Oklahoma State Health Department released the latest statistics.
Over the last twenty years the number of sexually transmitted diseases has been steadily rising, and now this rural community has some of the highest rates in the state. According to a recently published list in SFGATE the county has the dubious distinction of being ranked 23rd in the nation for its high Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates. These numbers are only expected to continue to rise due to the lack of STI clinics and residents’ inability to get easily tested.
It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates rising, but Syphilis and HIV incidents are up as well. In 2009 the Syphilis rate for the state was reported at 2.6 per 100,000 residents, compared to the county at 3.2 in 2012. The Chlamydia rate in 2012 was even higher at 779.7 per 100,000 residents, and the majority of these diagnoses occurred in women ages 18 to 24.
While the statistics show that teens and young adults are typically those with the highest risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, this is changing. In recent years the number of older men who test positive for primary and secondary Syphilis has been steadily increasing, and the same is also true for HIV.
Even newspapers are now publishing statistics detailing the city and county’s growing problem with rising STD rates.
Some of the statistics making headlines include,
- The city and county reported a Chlamydia rate of 776,000 per 100,000 residents in 2015.
- In 2015 the Gonorrhea rate for the county was reported at 214,000 per 100,000 residents, and was one of the highest in the state.
- The Syphilis rate rose to 3.2 in 2012 compared to the state’s at 2.6.
In 2016 a bill went before the Oklahoma House of Representatives. This bill does not deal with the public schools lack of sex education, but with abortion instead. If the bill passes the House and Senate students could graduate from high school knowing next to nothing about STDs, but be well aware the state law considers abortion “the termination of another separate and unique human being”.
With STD rates rising in the city and across the state one would think that officials would be concerned about residents’ health. Unfortunately they are relying on outdated abstinence based programs which do little to teach teens how to protect themselves from any sexually transmitted diseases. With polls showing that students are sexually active at a younger age and teen pregnancy rates rising, it seems clear that law makers are not focusing on the problem.