According to statistics recently released by the CDC and Essex County Health department the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year is rising. In 2013 the city and county ranked 4th in the state for its high number of Chlamydia infections, and the statistics show that these percentages have increased over the last couple of years. In fact statistics indicate that the number of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and infectious Syphilis diagnoses has been steadily increasing for the past twenty years. This is also true regarding HIV.
The statistics do show an interesting trend Chlamydia rates are increasing but in girls ages 15 to 24 the number of infections reported each year are decreasing. Men are now at a higher risk for contracting Gonorrhea, along with primary and secondary Syphilis. Hispanic and African American men are also more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease.
While STD rates overall are rising, there is some good news. HIV/AIDS infections are decreasing in frequency among teens and young adults. Unfortunately the same is not true for older residents, who are still among those with the highest risk of infection.
For over twenty years the number of sexually transmitted infections has been steadily rising, and statistics show that this is not likely to improve anytime soon since most residents still do not think that regular STD testing is important. Some of the other statistics that highlight the importance of this simple health procedure include,
- From 2011 to 2012 the number of Gonorrhea infections reported rose by 20 percent with the majority occurring in men.
- In 2009 the rate for Gonorrhea was reported at 102.6, compared to 133.0 in 2012.
- The rate for Syphilis infections in the city in 2009 was 31.8 and rose to 38.8 in 2012.
With the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year steadily rising in the small city and across the state, lawmakers have made the first steps towards creating an effective solution. Going into effective for the 2016 school year, it is now mandatory that all sex education classes include information that is current and medically accurate. This means that state public school systems can no longer use curriculum that is religious or abstinence based.
The reason that this is the first step towards creating an effective solution is that public school districts are not required by law to actually offer sex education classes. Information on the spread and prevention of HIV/AIDS is required but this can be provided in age appropriate health classes. Districts that are not comfortable with the new requirements for sex education can simply choose not to offer it.
This means that many teens are still not receiving the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. It is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school not understanding the risks and responsibilities that are associated with being sexually active. The importance of always using protection is not discussed, and it is not uncommon for students to not even know how to properly use a condom.
This also means that the majority of students do not understand how important regular Herpes testing in Lynn is or that it can help stop the spread of the virus throughout area high schools. Regular HIV testing in Lynn is briefly discussed, though most teens do not realize that this simple procedure could potentially save their lives.
Health officials can point to several reasons why STD rates are so high in the city and surrounding metro area, with the biggest contributing factor being a simple lack of education. If residents do not understand that their behavior could be putting them at risk or the importance of regular STI testing, it’s easy to see why the incident rate for sexually transmitted diseases is on the rise.
The suburb’s close proximity to Boston is also contributing to the problem since many residents work and play in the city. Since STDs can be spread through a variety of methods, it is not uncommon for residents to not even realize that they are already at risk for contracting a venereal disease.
A lack of community testing centers is also contributing to the problem, especially in the city’s lower income neighborhoods. Recent budget cuts to the state’s health care system is making it difficult for some residents to afford regular testing. This is especially true now that Medicare no longer covers STD tests. Budget cuts have also forced many clinics to close their doors or have limited hours of operation. This has resulted in understaffed testing centers that also come with long lines that many residents choose to avoid.
Residents of this historic city need to remember to take a few minutes and think about their sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising across all demographics. There are a few community health centers located in the city, but it is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in a long line. Now you can quickly and easily schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call, and only spend a few minutes at a conveniently located lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health, and still have time to explore this fascinating city.