In Ohio statistics compiled by the CDC show:
- chlamydia is ranked 19th out of 50 states for infection with a rate of 460 per 100,000
- chlamydia cases were 2 1/2 times greater in females than males
- gonorrhea is ranked 7th among 50 states 144 per 100,000
- primary and secondary syphilis rates were 3.1 per 100,000
- ranks 24th of 50 states for syphilis infection
- there were 67 cases of congenital syphilis during the four-year period of 2009 to 2013 *this is higher than the national average
- HIV rates are ranked 12th out of the 50 states according to Ohio State health profile
- 1200 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in a year period
- ranks 38th out of 50 states for TB
- the rate is 100 per 100,000
- 54% of TV occurring in foreign-born people
The demographic for HIV spread shows that men who engage in sex with other men have almost 75% of the new cases. Half of the new cases occur in Africa-Americans and 40% are in the Caucasian population.
Recently there was an effort led by the Buckeye Healthy School Alliance to establish state health standards. Interestingly, every school district in the state, with the exception of Cleveland, has an elected board of education that is in charge of setting policy. II is hoped that by opening the conversation with these education leaders we will get sex education playing an active role in prevention of teen pregnancy and decreasing rate of transition in high risk populations for sexually transmitted diseases.
One of the challenges is some people believe comprehensive sexual education will teach children to have sex. Sex education isn’t designed to encourage kids to partake in sex, actually what it does is present abstinence as an option and teaches contraception.
It’s clear that Ohio is currently is relying on parents to be responsible for sexual education. According to the Ohio youth risk behavior survey 42% of students admitted to having sex by the time they were 19 years of age with some beginning as young as 13.Comparing populations we see Hispanic students were 1.6 times more likely to have had sex than other populations including white and black. 11th and 12th graders were 1.8 times more likely than nine graders to be having sex and there were no differences reported between genders.
What is alarming is that the incidence is rising of the number of teens who have had sex with four or more people. Knowing that children are sexually active and are not getting the correct information to keep them safe is why our education system needs to play a greater role.
Ohio currently has a population of just over 11 million people with 5.8 million being female and 5.5 being male. Almost 5 million of this population is between the ages of 25 and 50 years old. 2 million are between 15 and 24 with a very small portion being below five or above 80. 9.6 million are white, 1.3 are black, 132,000 are Asian and there is only 217,000 Hispanic people.
Unfortunately the Buckeye state currently has 15% of its overall population living in poverty. 22% of those are children, 17% are working age women and 35% are African-American. The unemployment rate is almost 6% however 82% have graduated high school and 40% have higher education. What these stats tell us, when combined with STD rates across the age and race, are that less educated youth of color are at greater risk of contracting STDs.
The good news is that both big cities and rural communities are home to clinics and testing facilities whose goal is making personalized sexual health care easy to access and affordable for everyone. Regardless of what happens with Obamacare, there are local options for every Ohioan that includes:
- teen health outreach centers
- free outreach programs for those living in poverty
- walk-in clinics
- anonymous testing
- private health-centers
- in-home testing
- same day results
- mail-in test kits
With all these options, it has never been so easy to take charge of your own sexual health and regain the peace of mind that comes with a clean bill-of-health! Remember being adventurous and open-minded doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to keep yourself healthy and not knowing about sexual health isn’t an excuse for not maintaining yours. Common myths about STD transmission include thinking your doctor will tell you when you when need to be checked or that you only need to be checked if you have symptoms. Getting checked regularly, if you are sexually active, if you use injection drugs, or if you are starting a new relationship is part or your responsibility to keep yourself healthy.