New York City is a vibrant and busy metropolis boasting a population of more than 8 million people. It’s also a city that struggles with rates of STDs throughout the city. Although there are many education and STD testing programs available, rates of several diseases have begun to rise in recent years.
- In 2013, over 58,000 cases of chlamydia were reported
- Reports of syphilis were up in 2013 with 1,167 cases reported, an increase of 17%
- Primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis and congenital syphilis remain on the rise in New York City, with more than 4,000 cases reported in 2012
- 13,442 cases of gonorrhea were reported in 2012.
- 60% of females testing positive for gonorrhea were between the ages of 15-24
- More than 50% of males testing positive for gonorrhea were between the ages of 20-29
The statistics are alarming, particularly as so many STDs continue to rise in spite of the city’s best efforts to promote education regarding safe sex, testing and treatment options. As is the case in many states, syphilis has become a growing concern, with a marked rise in cases when compared to statistics from 10 to 20 years ago.
Other diseases have also seen an increase when compared to reports from 1993.
|P&S Syphilis||210||1,740||Increased 455%|
Testing and education programs have traditionally focused on Herpes and HIV Testing in NYC as these two diseases not only affect a large number of people but can be easily transmitted from one person to another long before any symptoms are present.
Within NYC, there are a number of educational programs designed to target at risk people, such as the young, who may not have any awareness of what these conditions can do or even how to protect themselves from becoming infected.
The New York City department of Education has issued a number of mandates regarding sex education in schools and now lessons are taught regarding everything from the physical changes of puberty to information on HIV and AIDS. Other information about birth control and sexuality are also discussed, though parents are able to opt-out from having their children enrolled for those portions. All children, however, must receive education about the spread and prevention of a variety of STDs.
Education is helpful when it comes to promoting sex education and the importance of STD Testing, but in many cases, the message isn’t getting to the right audience. By and large young people make up the bulk of the STD cases reported throughout the city.
Of the 13,442 cases of gonorrhea reported in 2012, the overwhelming majority came from men and women in their late teens or early twenties. Women aged 15-24 made up 60% of the cases reported while men tended to be a little older, with more than half of patients aged 20-29.
In the case of STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia, rates have only increased slightly but certain groups have proven to be much more susceptible than other. Men and women aged 15-19 account for 22 – 28% of these cases but 20-24 year olds make up nearly 40% of these cases as of 2013. For these groups, screening, testing and treatment are pivotal but rarely easily accessible
Race and income can also play a part in making some people more likely to contract serious STDs as well. Although rates of newly diagnosed HIV patients have declined over the years, both black and Hispanic persons are still represented more than whites.
There are a number of low-income and free STD clinics that offer confidential STD testing, HIV testing and Herpes testing as well as sex education and information on both treatment and prevention. At the same time, access to these clinics can be difficult as many have more patients than they can handle and it’s not uncommon for people to spend their day waiting, hoping to be seen, only to be told to come back and try again. The frustration this causes leads many to avoid testing or treatment.
Confidential STD testing offers people the chance to learn more about the risk of exposure and take control of their sexual health. For many people, concerns about how being seen at STD Clinics prevent them from taking the necessary steps to find out about their own STD status via Herpes tests, HIV tests and screening for a host of other diseases and infections. Anonymous STD testing in NYC usually refers to private and confidential STD Test options. This simply means that while your name is recorded as a part of the process, no identifying details are ever released and the information remains on record but sully protected under local, state and federal privacy laws such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Options for private testing through STD clinics in the NYC area offer the best way for people to take control of their health and learn more about how they can protect themselves from infections. This can help people to not only take more proactive approach in their own healthcare but also to help others take the steps they need to deal with concerns about STDs and learn more about how they can be prevented.