Statistics recently released by the CDC and Boulder County Health Department show that over the last twenty years STD rates have been rising at an alarming rate in the metro city. In 2015 it was reported that HIV rates had increased by 215 percent with the majority of new cases occurring in the Hispanic community.
According to the recent statistics it is not just HIV rates that are increasing, but the number of reported cases of other STDs is climbing as well. Chlamydia incidents are up in women, along with the number of HPV and genital Herpes cases. Men are also at risk for contracting a STD, especially Gonorrhea, HIV and infectious Syphilis.
This metro city is also located in Weld County, which is also dealing with high STD rates. Overall, the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year in Weld County is significantly higher than those for Boulder County. This means that it is even more important than ever for residents regardless of where they live in the city to be tested for all STDs on a regular basis.
While the STD rates do vary from county to county, some of the statistics remain the same. Hispanic men and women ages 18 to 24 test positive more often for a STD, followed closely by African Americans. The number of Syphilis incidents reported in Caucasian men is also increasing at an alarming rate. Some of the other statistics that residents should be aware of that highlight this growing health crisis include,
- Weld County reported a Chlamydia rate of 349.1 in 2015 compared to 280.9 in Boulder County.
- The Gonorrhea rate for both counties was 44.2 per 100,000 residents in 2015.
- The combined Syphilis rate for the two counties was 5.3 which is only slightly below state averages.
In response to the rising number of teen pregnancies and STDs reported each year, the state decided to start providing free birth control to women. The program first started in 2009 has had a positive effect on teen pregnancy rates, and local health officials are hopeful that this means that the state is ready to change its current sex education program.
Currently abstinence is taught in the public school systems, and supporters of this curriculum claim that it is effective at deterring teens and young adults from becoming sexually active until they are married. Unfortunately the statistics show that this is not accurate, and this is backed by the rising STD rates in the city and counties.
Without comprehensive sex education programs teens do not understand all of the risks and responsibilities that come with engaging in sexual activity, and this is increasing their chances of contracting a STD. The importance of always using a condom during intercourse is never discussed, and some teens graduate from high school unsure of how to properly use any method of protection. Most importantly regular HIV testing in Longmont is not covered in the current sex education classes, even after incident rates rose more than 200 percent in just one year. Students also need to learn that regular Herpes testing in Longmont is important, and it is the best method of preventing the spread of the virus through area high schools.
It is important to remember that this metro city is located in two counties, and this is affecting its STD rates. Boulder County does have a lower rate of infection, and this is due to the fact that there are more STI testing centers for residents to take advantage of. Its larger population also means more funding for its health care programs and officials typically find it easier to spread the message that regular testing is important for everyone’s sexual health.
Weld County is considered more rural, and this means less funding for health care. This is also one of the main contributing factors to its higher STD rates. This even affects residents in this small metro city, and it is something that health officials are trying to find ways to improve.
Something that is affecting the STD rates in both counties is the lack of comprehensive sex education classes. It is not uncommon for teens and adults to not realize that their behavior may be putting their sexual health at risk. Since students are not taught how to properly use a condom, some believe that it is not necessary to wear one every time they have sex. The biggest contributing factor is that residents do not understand the importance of regular STD testing, and until this changes the rates in the city and surrounding counties will continue to increase.
Before you head into the state capitol for a day of shopping or start hiking up Longs Peak it is important to take a few minutes to take care of your sexual health. It is understandable if you don’t want to waste you day sitting in a crowded waiting room and now you don’t have to. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health and still have plenty of time left to explore the city and surrounding mountains.