Statistics recently released by the CDC and Miami-Dade County Health Department show that STDs are on the rise, and have been for the past two decades. From 2006 to 2014 the rates for Chlamydia and Syphilis have doubled, and according to new data the percentages are still rising.
What is really worrisome, according to one local health officials, is that the rising STD rates have gone largely unnoticed by local residents. This, believes some health officials, could mean that the percentages are much higher since some people could be infected and not even realize it.
It is not just Chlamydia and Syphilis rates that are rising, the statistics also show that Gonorrhea, Herpes and HIV/AIDS incidents are climbing as well. In the three year period from 2013 to 2015 the county’s rate for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and infectious Syphilis was the highest in the state, and this includes Broward County where STDs are already a known problem. The recently released statistics also indicate that it is no longer teens and young adults at risk, but older residents are also testing positive more often.
Men over the age of 24 are twice as likely to contract primary and secondary Syphilis as younger males. While Syphilis and HIV/AIDS is more common in men, Chlamydia continues to be a problem for women. Teens and young adults are twice as likely to contract Chlamydia as those in other demographics, and the rates are especially high in African American and Hispanic females. Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing health crisis include,
- From 1994 to 1996 the rate for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and infectious Syphilis for the county was reported at 226.3 compared to the 529.8 percent reported for 2013 to 2015.
- From 1994 to 2015 the STD rates for the city and county almost doubled.
- The number of STDs reported in residents ages 25 to 34 have increased by 5 percent.
Even though the state has the highest rate for new cases of HIV in the country and ranks 12th in the nation for number of teen pregnancies, Florida is still relying on outdated information and abstinence based sex education classes to help keep students and residents safe. Judging by the high STD and teen pregnancy rates this approach simply is not working.
While religious based material is not allowed in the classroom, students are taught that abstinence should be their only option. Since studies show that teens are having sex at a younger age, and this is backed up by the high pregnancy rates, many health officials believe that students need more information. This will include material on contraceptives and the importance of using condoms, along with the fact that STDs can be spread through various methods. Unfortunately law makers still believe that abstinence based sex education classes are still the best choice, and the percentages of teens and young adults with a STD will continue to rise.
This is way it is important that everyone understands how vital regular HIV testing in Miami Beach is for their continued good health. Regular Herpes testing in Miami Beach is also important, and the simple procedure could help slow the virus’ spread through area high schools.
While the lack of a sex education program that addresses the issues teens and young adults currently face is one of the main reasons STD rates are so high on the barrier island, it is not the only factor causing these percentages to rise.
The growing number and popularity of dating apps is making it easier for teens and adults to “hook up”, and this often means engaging in sexual activity without using protection. Even as some teens are referring to this as their version of “free love” , health officials are worried that it will end like the last one with skyrocketing STD rates.
A lack of adequate testing facilities is making it difficult for many residents to find a place to be checked for sexually transmitted infections. Some lower income families are also finding it difficult to afford regular testing. Recent budget cuts to state and federal health care programs, has left many residents unable to pay for a STD test.
Adding to the problem is the shame and fear many residents feel when they think that they might have a sexually transmitted disease. Certain stigmas are still associated with STDs and this can make it especially difficult for teens and young adults to admit that there might be a problem with their sexual health.
Until these and other issues are resolved the city can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
Before heading to the beach or across the bridge to the mainland, it is important to take a few minutes and think about your sexual health. There are a few STI clinics on the barrier island but the long lines have many residents looking for another option. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one simply phone call, and only spend a few minutes at the local lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health and still have plenty of time to see the city’s famous art deco buildings.