Statistics recently released by the CDC and Denton County Health Department are showing an alarming trend regarding the STD rates in the area. For the past twenty years the number of new incidents reported annually has been rising, and the statistics indicate that this is not expected to change anytime soon.
The area has one of the highest HIV rates in the state, with the majority of new cases occurring in teens ages 13 to 18. The recent statistics also show that teens are at a higher risk for contracting several of the other sexually transmitted diseases.
Residents over the age of twenty are also testing positive for one or more STDs with alarming frequency. Even though the number of reported incidents is increasing, the rates are not as high as those for teens. It does show that regular STD testing is important for all residents, regardless of their age.
While Chlamydia rates are highest for women, the statistics show that the rates for Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV are increasing in men. This is especially true for teens and young adults. Males over the age of 30 are among those with the highest risk for contracting Syphilis. As the rates for all sexually transmitted diseases continues to rise in the suburb, health officials urge residents to get tested on a regular basis.
Some of the statistics that highlight the growing STD problem include,
- The HIV rate in Denton County was reported at 126.3 per 100,000 people in 2014.
- Denton County reported 227 Chlamydia incidents in 2012.
- The suburb and county reported the third highest Syphilis rate in the state in 2015.
- In 2014 the Gonorrhea rate for the county was reported at 51.9 per 100,000 people.
Like the majority of states across the county there are currently not any comprehensive sex education programs in the public school systems. This is leaving students woefully unprepared to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
Instead of comprehensive sex education teens are usually taught that abstinence is best. With teen pregnancy rates rising almost as quickly as those for STDs it’s evident that this approach is not effective. Unfortunately many of the public school districts that do offer abstinence based education classes are more likely to make students feel shame and fear if they are sexually active, instead of providing them with the information teens need.
Discussions concerning the use of contraceptives are rarely included in the current sex education programs. Students often are not aware that a simple condom could protect them from all STDs. While information on HIV/AIDS is required by federal law, it is still not uncommon for teens to graduate without fully realize how STDs are spread.
Students also do not learn how important regular HIV testing in Lewisville is or that this is the only way to positively diagnose the potentially deadly disease. The same is true regarding regular Herpes testing in Lewisville. While this virus is not considered to be “deadly” it can be embarrassing and easily prevented simply by getting tested on a regular basis.
There are several factors contributing to the rising STD rates. In 2010 it was named one of the fastest growing cities and the influx of new residents is still continuing, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While this is good news for the Dallas suburb’s economy, it also means that long-time residents can expect to see the number of new STD incidents continue to increase.
Budget cuts to health care over the last few years are also being blamed for the steady rise in sexually transmitted infections. Community STI clinics that haven’t been forced to close their doors due to lack of funding are now keeping limited hours of operation. Not only is this making it difficult for residents to find a conveniently located testing facility, the long lines and crowded waiting rooms at the ones that are still open are forcing many people to put off the important health checkup.
Religious and culture beliefs are other contributing factors, but the main one remains the lack of education.
While educators are promoting abstinence, teens are still engaging in sexual activity. This is evident by the rising number of teenagers that are pregnant before graduation. Since the current state approved sex education program does not include information on the use of contraceptives, residents can expect this trend to continue. This is also one of the main reasons the STD rates in teens are increasing at an alarming pace.
Until these and other issues are resolved this quiet suburb can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
Filled with parks and other green spaces it is still hard for residents of this idyllic suburb to believe that the STD rates are rising at such an alarming rate. Unfortunately the lack of conveniently located community STI testing facilities is only adding to the problem. If you want to avoid the long lines at the clinics and still take care of your sexual health there is a faster and easier option. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend 15 to 20 minutes at a nearby lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health and still have plenty of time for swimming at Lake Park.