While it may have been listed among the top small cities to live in by CNN, this doesn’t change the fact that it has a high STD rate. The small city of Norman and surrounding Cleveland County has a Chlamydia rate of 285.1 per 100,000 residents, according to recent CDC statistics and these numbers are only expected to increase.
Statistics show that over the past twenty years STD rates have been rising at an alarming rate, and this includes primary and secondary Syphilis incidents. As of 2014 the state ranked 34th in the nation for its number of diagnoses cases of Syphilis, and while it is in the upper half health officials warn that unless residents understand the importance of regular testing it will soon see a jump in these rates.
It is not only teens and young adults who are testing positive for STDs, older men and women are also being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease more often. This has health officials especially worried since Syphilis seems to be more common in men. If left untreated the STD can cause significant health problems that can even result in death.
As statistics continue to show that there is a problem with STDs in the city, health officials’ hope that everyone will realize how important for their health regular testing can be. Some of the statistics released by the CDC that indicate STDs are a health problem in the area include,
- Between 2008 and 2012 HIV was listed among the top 10 causes of death in adults ages 35 to 44.
- Surprisingly viral Hepatitis was the 9th leading cause of death in residents ages 55 to 64 in the years from 2008 to 2012.
- Hepatitis was also listed as the 10th leading cause of death in residents ages 44 to 54 in the years between 2008 and 2012.
Ranking 3rd in the nation for its high teen birth rates one would expect that implementing sexual education programs in the public schools would be a top priority for law makers, but this is not the case. Instead of wanting to teach students how to protect themselves from STDs and unplanned pregnancies state law makers have proposed a bill that would make it mandatory for all high schools to teach students information that would discourage them from getting an abortion. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, except for the fact that the majority of the state’s public high schools do not even have an abstinence based sexual education program.
If there are not even classes that deal with the human reproduction system or even the changes the body faces during puberty, it is hard to see how a program that only stresses the negative aspects of abortion will be able to lower the states abnormally high teen pregnancy rates.
Without the information students need to stay safe and protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, the city will continue to see its STD rates continue to rise. This is also why regular Herpes testing is important in Norman, since the virus is prevalent in area high schools. Regular HIV testing in Norman is also critical if you want to continue to have good health, and the simple procedure only takes a few minutes of your time.
With only a few miles of highway separating it from the state capitol, it is not uncommon for residents to get away for a night or a weekend. While the close proximity to the larger capitol city does ensure that residents have plenty of entertaining things to see and do, it is also contributing to the area’s high STD rate.
Residents often engaged in risky behavior when they are away from home, which can put them at risk for contracting a STD. Without regular testing some residents might not even know that they have contracted an STD until they have already infected others.
The main contributing factor to the steady increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year is the lack of education in the public schools. The state does not require any type of program in schools, including those center around abstinence. Without the information residents need to know how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases the number of those infected will continue to rise. The lack of education is also why the state is ranked among the top 5 for its high teen pregnancy rate.
With STD rates continuing to rise each year and state law makers refusing to take proactive steps, it has never been so important for residents to take responsibility for their sexual health. Even though budget cuts and new state laws has forced many clinics and community health centers to close their doors, there are still a few places residents can go to be tested for STDs. If you don’t want to stand in long lines or are worried about running into someone you know, you can schedule confidential STD testing with one quick and easy phone call. This way you only have to spend a few minutes in a local lab, and still have plenty of time to explore the nearby lake.