Even though local health officials expected the STI rates to be high, no one expected the percentages to increase this dramatically. Over the past twenty years the number of residents that test positive for at least one sexually transmitted disease has been steadily increasing, and since nothing is being done to curb the rising rates health officials expect the current trend to continue.
It is not just Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates that are increasing, but the statistics released by the North Pinal Health Department and CDC also show that Syphilis and HIV infections are on the rise. Currently the county ranks 3rd in the state for its high STD rate, and experts suggest that these numbers would be higher if not for the area’s smaller population.
As of 2012 the HIV/AIDS rate for the county was reported at 905 percent per 100,000 residents, and this rate has increased in the last three years. The statistics also show that it is not just teens and young adults that are contracting the various STDs, but older residents are also testing positive more often. This is especially true among minorities who seem to be at an increased risk for contracting HIV and Syphilis.
Asians and Pacific Islanders are more likely to contract Hepatitis B or C, and this is surprising considering their relatively low population in the county. Herpes is still more prevalent among teens, while Chlamydia infections are more common in young women. Some of the other statistics that highlight this growing health crisis include,
- The county has the 3rd highest HIV/AIDS rate in the state at 905 per 100,000 residents compared to 264 in Mohave CO. which is ranked 4th.
- 76 percent of the HIV/AIDS incidents occurred in males ages 20 to 44.
Sex education is not mandatory in local public schools, and this is putting students at risk. The number of STDs reported annually is rising, especially among teens and young adults. These statistics alone emphasize how important it is for students to know how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
State law does require public schools to promote abstinence as the best method to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies, if sex education classes are offered. With over 70 percent of graduating high school seniors admitting to being sexually active and the teen pregnancy rate rising, it seems clear that abstinence based programs are no longer effective.
Teens are becoming sexually active at younger ages, and it is important that the education system stays current with the needs of today’s students. This means addressing many of the issues teens face, including their sexuality. If students don’t understand the risks and dangers associated with being sexually active, the health of everyone in the community will continue to be at risk.
This includes informing students about the importance of regular Herpes testing in North Pinal, and how it is the best way to stop the spread of the virus through local high schools. Regular HIV testing in North Pinal is critical for everyone’s continued good health, and the simple procedure is the only way to positively detect the disease.
Demographics do play a role in STD rates, and this applies to the suburban community. As part of the statistical metro area, the STD rates do reflect the larger population. Many residents also commute for work and play, and this could also be putting their sexual health at risk.
Without comprehensive sex education it is not uncommon for residents to not even realize that their behavior could be increasing their chances for contracting an STD. The lack of information is putting teens at risk, along with older adults. Advances in medicine has also made it possible for adults to stay sexually active longer, and this is another contributing factor to the rising STD rates.
Budget cuts over the last few years are also being blamed for the area’s skyrocketing STD rate. Some community health centers have been forced to close, and this is making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested. The few STI clinics that are open usually have long lines and crowded waiting rooms that very few people want to spend the day waiting in. Adding to the problem is the fact that regular STD testing is no longer covered under government insurance, and this means that many residents are finding that they can’t afford to take care of their sexual health.
Until the city resolves these and other issues, they can expect to see the number of new STD cases reported annually continue to rise.
Taking care of your sexual health doesn’t have to be difficult or inconvenient. With STD rates rising it is more important than ever that you get tested regularly. It is understandable if you don’t want to wait in long lines at the community health centers, and now you don’t have to. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you can take responsibility for your sexual health and still have plenty of time to explore this beautiful city.