Considered part of the larger Charleston metro area this suburban city can not only claim a rich history, but also a high STD rate. Over the last twenty-five years state and local health officials have been watching the number of sexually transmitted infections reported annually climb, and recent statistics show that this health problem is only getting worse.
Statistics released by the South Carolina Department of Health showed that the number of HIV/AIDs cases reported in 2013 and 2014 rose 8.3 percent over previous years. This has caused the metro area to be ranked 31st in the nation for its high rate of HIV infections. While the growing number of newly diagnosed HIV cases is frightening, it is not the only STD being diagnosed with increasing frequency.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents are also on the rise, especially among teens and young women. Herpes has long been a problem in the public schools, and since students are not being tested there is little chance that it will improve. Hepatitis B and C incidents are decreasing, and Syphilis seems to mainly be a problem for adults. Even though some of the statistics might seem to indicate that STD rates might be starting to improve, the simple fact that HIV/AIDS incidents are increasing show that residents are still at risk.
Some of the statistics released by health department officials include,
- In 2014 residents ages 20 to 29 accounted for 41 percent of the reported HIV/AIDS diagnoses.
- 71 percent of those who tested positive for HIV/AIDS were African American in 2014.
- The period from 2009 to 2013 saw 447 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the metro city.
Even though lawmakers and local school officials are well aware of the high STD rate in the metro area, they are still not ready to take steps to resolve the problem. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year school board members and parents met to discuss implementing a sexual program that would teach students about the use of contraceptives, while still encouraging abstinence. Even this was met with fierce resistance from parents and conservatives who believe that any type of comprehensive program would only encourage students to become sexually active.
The statistics already show that a large number of teens are sexually active by the time they turn 18. The high number of teens who test positive for STDs shows that simply stressing abstinence isn’t enough. For those that need more proof, they simply need to look at the number of teens that become pregnant before graduation.
Studies show metro areas that have made comprehensive sexual education programs mandatory in its public schools do have a lower STD rate among students, and this even includes Herpes. Teen pregnancy numbers are also down, and this is simply because they now have the information they need.
If teens and their parents had information on regular Herpes testing in North Charleston, chances are the city would soon begin seeing the number of positive diagnoses start to drop. This is also true concerning regular HIV testing in North Charleston, especially considering its extremely high infection rates.
With its location on the Atlantic Coast, rich maritime history and beautiful mansions, tourists flock to the area throughout the year. The revenue that the tourism industry brings into the area is always welcome, but this also means an increased risk for residents to contract a sexually transmitted disease.
Since the information residents need to know how to protect themselves from these viruses is not readily available it is easy for them to become infection without even realizing that they were at risk. Most residents still do not understand how sexually transmitted diseases are spread and that simply abstaining from intercourse is not an effective method of protecting themselves. Since very few people understand that getting tested for STDs is an important part of taking care of their overall health, the city will continue to have some of the highest rates in the state.
For the small percentage of residents that want to get tested for STDs every 6 months or so, they are running into trouble finding a place to go. The historic city has strict regulations on where community health centers can go, and a very small budget to keep the clinics open and running. When residents do find a clinic they also discover extremely long lines, which can cause many of them to simply walk away hoping that they are not infected with a venereal disease.
You cannot have good sexual health without regular STD testing, even if you are abstaining from intercourse until marriage. Sexually transmitted diseases can be spread several ways, and some can only be detected by testing. If you are concerned about your sexual health but simply do not want to be stuck in a clinic all day, there is a faster and more convenient way. You can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend a few minutes in the privacy of a local lab.