According to statistics recently released by the CDC and Weber County Health Department the STD rates in the small city are rising, and have been for the past twenty years.
The infection rate for all four commonly tracked STDs is increasing, but none more so than Gonorrhea. Since 2012 the number of incidents reported each year has more than tripled, and health officials warn that this trend it not likely to change anytime soon. The rates for Chlamydia, HIV and Syphilis are also increasing, though at a slightly slower pace.
It is not just young women that are finding themselves with an increased risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but men as well. Even though guys of all ages have been testing positive for STDs for a number of years, it is just now starting to gain attention. The percentage of males that tested positive for Gonorrhea in 2014 was almost twice that for females, and the county also has the second highest rate in the state.
The statistics do indicate that the rates for primary and secondary Syphilis are starting to decline, and this is good news for residents of all ages.
With the rates for the majority of the transmittable sexual diseases still rising, it has never been so important for residents to be tested on a regular basis. Some of the statistics that highlight this growing health problem include,
- African American males accounted for the majority of reported Gonorrhea infections in 2014.
- Weber County reported the second highest Gonorrhea rate in the state in 2014.
- The area reported the third highest Chlamydia rate in the state in 2014.
With the steady rise in STD rates across the state some lawmakers decided that something needed to be done. Unfortunately their efforts failed. Instead of passing a bill that would’ve have helped teens get the information they need to protect themselves from STDs, the majority of lawmakers decided that abstinence based sex education classes are still the best policy.
This means that the majority of teens will not receive the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
Some lawmakers and local health officials have gone as far as to call the state’s current sex education programs as “subpar”. With STI rates rising at an alarming rate in teens and young adults, many residents are starting to feel that this might be an accurate description.
Since abstinence is widely promoted as the best way to prevent the spread of STDs, the majority of graduating teens are ill-equipped to protect themselves. Discussions concerning the use of contraceptives are not encouraged, along with any issues regarding a student’s sexuality.
Regular HIV testing in Ogden remains the only way to accurately test for this potentially deadly disease, and unfortunately a majority of residents still don’t understand its importance. The same is also true regarding regular Herpes testing in Ogden, which is a shame since it could help prevent the spread of the virus through area high schools.
Like most cities across the nation the demographics are diverse. While this is a positive aspect, it is also contributing to the city’s high STD rates. The city also boasts a younger population with an average age of 29. This means that a vast majority of residents are sexually active with at least one partner.
It’s slightly rural location is another factor. It can give residents a false sense of security that is enhanced by the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. Judging by the rising STD rate, many residents are discovering that even living in this picturesque community is not enough to protect them from sexually transmittable diseases.
Adding to the problem is the prevailing conservative beliefs that are preventing teens and young adults from learning how to protect themselves from STDs. The abstinence based sex education classes found in most area high schools are simply not effective at preventing the spread of these diseases. Many students do not fully realize that sexually activity does not always involve intercourse, and even “heavy petting” can still result in one of the participants contracting a STD.
The biggest contributing factor remains the lack of STI clinics in the city’s various neighborhoods. Budget cuts to health care have forced many community centers to close their doors or have limited hours of operation. This is making it exceedingly difficult for residents to take care of their sexual health.
Before heading off to explore the Snowbasin or climb Mount Ogden it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of reported STD incidents is rising each year and this means that it is important for everyone to be tested, regardless of sexual activity. If you want to skip the long lines at the community clinics there is a faster and easier way for you to take responsibility for your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. It is quick, easy and will give you peace of mind knowing that you have taken steps to protect your sexual health.