Recent statistics show that the number of reported STDs each year is on the rise in Eastern Virginia, and this includes the independent city of Newport News. The historic maritime city has been dealing with a rising number of sexually transmitted infections, and the statistics indicate that this alarming trend has been occurring over the last twenty years.
Not only are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents on the rise, but the number of residents who report testing positive for early Syphilis and HIV are also increasing. In 2010 the city reported the highest incident of Syphilis, with the majority being young African American males between the ages of 15-24.
The statistics also show that young men and women are at a greater risk of contracting an STD, and that these rising numbers are also increasing older residents chances of testing positive for a sexually transmitted disease. Until everyone in the area understands how important it is to get tested regularly, the number of infections will continue to rise in the area.
Some of the statistics that have health officials concerned include,
- In 2009 there were 3,467 cases of Gonorrhea reported in the city, with 2,008 incidents reported in African American females between the ages of 15 to 24.
- There were over 8,000 women diagnosed with Chlamydia in 2009 compared to 3,422 men.
- From 2004 to 2008 the area saw a sharp increase in reported HIV incidents and now has one of the highest rates in the state.
The best way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is to have comprehensive education programs in place in the classroom, and this is unfortunately not the case in Newport News.
While the state does leave the choice of curriculum presented to teens up to the individual city, most still opt to use the federally subsidized abstinence only program. This program does cover the basic misconceptions regarding HIV and its spread, but it does not explain any part of the sexual process. In addition other STDs are only briefly covered, and abstinence is promoted instead of discussing how to stay safe if a teen is sexually active.
Abstinence is the best method of preventing teenage pregnancy, but it cannot stop the spread of all STDs. Not all sexually transmitted diseases are spread solely through penetration during intercourse and without comprehensive education programs in place in the city’s school system many students and their parents do not even realize that they are at risk.
Some STDs can be spread through casual contact, which is one of the reasons why regular Herpes testing in Newport News is some important. The simple procedure only takes a minute and can help stop the spread of this common STD. Regular HIV testing in Newport News is also critical for continued good health, and the quick visit to a community health center could potentially save your life.
Demographics plays a large role in the STD rates for an area, and this is certainly true in Newport News. There are several factors that are affecting the city’s STD rates which include ethnicity, income, age, and choice of career.
The large naval population ensures a steady stream of visitors and returning residents, many of whom have not been tested for a STD. This often leads to many of the city’s permanent residents becoming infected with a sexually transmitted infection. While Navy officials are working on ways to protect their seamen from sexually transmitted diseases, the best method of protection is to get tested regularly.
A large economic divide between the city’s Caucasian and African American residents is also contributing to the alarming high STD rates. More African American men and women ages 15 to 24 test positive for a sexually transmitted disease than their Caucasian counterparts, and much of this is also due to a lack of education and community health centers.
Many of the city’s lower income neighborhoods do not have adequate health centers, and it is also difficult for these families to afford regular testing. Due to the lack of information available, it is not uncommon for residents to not even know that they are at risk.
Teens are becoming sexually active at a younger age, and many do not understand the risks involved. The abstinence only programs are helping to control the number of teen pregnancies, but it is not slowing down the spread of STDs. Until everyone in the city understands how important it is to get tested regularly, the number of STDs reported each year will continue to rise.
Before you spend the day exploring this historic maritime city it is important to take a few minutes and take care of your sexual health. The simple procedure is quick and painless, and it could save your life. There are several community health centers in the city for residents to take advantage of, but the long lines and fear of running into a familiar face has many people looking for a different option. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one quick and easy phone call and only spend 20 minutes or so at the local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to enjoy your day in the city.
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