Known more for its museums, galleries and intellectual gatherings, many residents are surprised to learn that their small city is also becoming famous for its high STD rates. In a city that prizes knowledge and information, the statistics recently released by the CDC are particularly alarming.
Over the past twenty years the number of reported sexually transmitted diseases has been increasing at a steady rate, and this unfortunately does not only apply to the Herpes virus. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are also increasing, along with primary and secondary Syphilis. The state and city are also facing higher than average HIV/AIDS rates, which is particularly alarming considering the excellent health department on the nearby campus.
While teens and young adults continue to be the most at risk, statistics also show that older men are testing positive more often for at least one sexually transmitted disease. It is becoming more common for residents to test positive for more than one sexually transmitted disease at a time, and this indicates to health officials that residents do not understand the risks and dangers associated with STDs. This lack of education is another reason officials are alarmed, and realizing the proactive steps need to be taken to ensure everyone’s health and safety.
Some of the recent statistics released by the CDC include,
- In 2007 the city had an incident rate of Chlamydia infections of 1,180 compared to 1,198 per 100,000 residents in 2011.
- African American men and women ages 20 to 24 are twice as likely to contract Gonorrhea as Caucasians in the same age group.
- While the Syphilis rate in 2011 was only 8 per 100,000 it did climb three percent compared to 2007.
Unlike some states that have elected to implement comprehensive and medically accurate sexual education classes in area high schools, the small city of New Haven has decided to encourage students to practice abstinence. This is particularly surprising considering the city’s emphasis on culture and knowledge.
Instead of arming teens and young adults with the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, city officials are relying on abstinence to lower STD rates. While refraining from intercourse will prevent pregnancies, it will not stop the spread of all STDs.
Some sexually transmitted diseases can be spread through casual contact, like the Herpes virus. This is one of the reasons this STD is so prevalent in high schools. Other STDs can also be spread without penetration occurring during sexual activity. Until students and teens know how to protect themselves and understand that testing is an important part of a responsible health care routine the STD rates will continue to be a concern.
In an effort to protect college students the university does offer sexual education classes, and residents are encouraged to attend. Regular Herpes testing in New Haven is important, especially for high school students who present the greatest risk of infection. Regular HIV testing in New Haven is also critical if you want to take care of your health, and protect the people you love.
With Yale University and its diverse campus New Haven has a unique demographical makeup, but this is not the main cause for the city’s high STD rate.
Even though the city is below state and national averages, the incident rate is still high for its relatively small population. Some of the incoming university students are contributing to the problem, but thanks to the aggressive sexual education programs offered on campus the majority understand the importance of regular testing.
Unfortunately the main cause of the high STD rate is the year round residents of New Haven. The lack of education in the public high schools has resulted in a large number of teens and young adults not understanding the dangers and risks associated with having unprotected sex. Myths and misconceptions that are allowed to persist are also putting residents at risk.
Many people do not realize how STDs are spread, and some still believe that they are safe as long as they are only with one partner. This lack of education is also causing many residents to ignore some of the common signs and symptoms, and this is one of the reasons more older adults are testing positive for more than one sexually transmitted disease at a time.
Advances in medicine and health care has made it possible for older residents to stay sexually active longer, and it is not uncommon for physicians to never think about giving a STD test to their elderly patients. This oversight allows older residents to pass the infections, and potentially even infect their caregivers.
Before heading to one of the numerous museums or exploring the Yale campus it is important to take a couple of minutes and be responsible for your sexual health. There are a few community health centers that you can visit or you can avoid the long lines and schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call. This way you only have to spend 20 minutes or so at a local lab, instead of hours waiting with everyone else in long lines.