Though the city has maintained relatively low rates of sexually transmitted diseases nationwide, it is located in one of the state’s highest STD-ranking counties, Monongalia, which levels of chlamydia and HIV seem to be on the rise. According to 2016 data, the county had an estimated 528.2 reported cases of chlamydia (higher than the national rate) and 115.5 reported cases of HIV per 100,000, noticeable increases from rates 20 years ago.
Some other statistical data include:
- Chlamydia had a slight drop in rate between 2014 and 2015, but data from 2016 show that chlamydia is again on the rise.
- The majority of STD infected individuals were aged 15-24.
- Chlamydia rates rose from 428 in 2011 to an estimated 528.2 in 2016.
- Early latent, primary, and secondary syphilis remain at remarkably low levels.
This data indicates an increased lack of consideration for protected sex and early testing, with those aged 15-24 being the main perpetrators. As a result, local outreach programs located in Morgantown and surrounding areas are aiming to help the county’s younger population realize the importance of being regularly tested and practicing safe sex. With reported STD cases in the US on the rise, it is more crucial than ever to instill safe sex sexual habits into the populace.
HIV is more common in the United States than most people realize; According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.2 million people nationwide are living with this disease, including an undiagnosed 156,300. With such a high risk, it is no wonder that sexually active individuals between the ages of 13 and 64 are strongly advised to receive testing at least once as part of routine healthcare. In addition, sexually active bisexual and gay men are encouraged to receive HIV test often, at least every 3 to 6 months.
HIV tests are extremely precise; however, the virus is undetectable immediately after infection. How quickly a test can detect infection depends on numerous factors, including the type of test given. Currently, there are three HIV tests available: fourth-generation or combination tests, nucleic acid tests (NATs), and antibody tests.
People who have been diagnosed can get HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) and remain healthy for years. Studies show that those who take the treatment every day the right way can reduce the chances of transmitting the infection by as much as 96%.
Another one of the most commonly transmitted STDs, genital herpes (herpes simplex virus, or HSV) is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). In HSV-positive pregnant women, the infection can be transferred to newborns through the mother, creating dangerous life-destroying effects. Often, infected individuals may have the infection for months, even years before they receive symptoms, and may spread the infection unknowingly.
If symptoms show, however, they are usually mistaken for something else. If you have sores on your genitals, your local health care provider can perform tests (either the cell culture test or PCR blood test) to see if you have the STD and provide answer any questions you may have regarding the issue.
The city has a relatively young populace (approximately 53% aged 15-24), and that seems to be a major factor in the reported levels of STDs per year. Along with the fear of ridicule and testing, the stereotypical view that only certain people can contract sexually transmitted diseases often causes young people to neglect STD testing.
Another factor for STD increases appears to be gender. In 2011-2015 data, women were shown to have higher rates of chlamydia infection than men did, while men showed higher rates of Syphilis; however, both sexes showed equivalent rates of gonorrhea. This is not to say that one gender is at more risk than the other for contracting STDs.
The main reasons for the discrepancy are attributed to embarrassment and social stereotypes. As a result, STD clinics in the city and surrounding areas are working to make the population more at ease with being regularly tested. This data seems to be true across the state.
While every city has its challenges in dealing with public welfare, this community has maintained a relatively low level of sexually transmitted diseases through the efforts of the city’s public health care officials and sexual education programs. Though sex education is available in STD clinics and general outreach programs, you may benefit from researching specific STD testing, such as HIV testing or Herpes testing, through companies that offer services through the mail or through your own doctor’s office.
Since it is such a quaint city, you may feel it is too embarrassing to walk into your local doctor’s office for an STD test. If this is the case, then confidential STD testing is the best option for you. This way all you will need to do is place your order online and drop by a local lab for same-day STD testing. The process is simple, painless and only takes a few minutes so you can get back to enjoying your day.