It has become impossible for health officials to ignore the rising STD rates, especially among the city’s young adults. Statistics released by the CDC and Utah County Health Department indicate that the number of sexually transmitted diseases is rising each year, and has been for the past two decades.
The statistics show that over the past ten years Gonorrhea rates has risen significantly in teens and young adults, and this includes men and women. One county health department officials went so far as to say that there area is in the middle of a “serious Gonorrhea outbreak”. Chlamydia diagnoses are also on the rise, especially in young African American and Hispanic women. As of 2014 the Chlamydia rate for the area was reported at 167.6 per 100,000, and health officials expect this to continue to increase unless residents start taking responsibility for their sexual health.
When it comes to primary and secondary Syphilis rates the statistics do indicate that the number of reported infections is decreasing. This also seems to be true across much of the state. An increase in public awareness is being credit with helping to lower these rates, though residents still need to be tested for all STDs on a regular basis if they want to prevent this sexually transmitted disease from infecting others.
Unfortunately HIV/AIDS diagnoses are up in the city and county, and this only shows how important it is to visit a STI clinic. Some of the other statistics that highlight the importance of testing include,
- From 2005 to 2014 the Gonorrhea rates among women ages 40-44 has risen a staggering 1,555 percent.
- In 2010 the Gonorrhea rates for the county was reported at 11 per 100,000, compared to 2014 were it had risen to 49 per 100,000.
- Women between the ages of 18 to 24 are twice as likely to contract Chlamydia as those older or younger.
Even though statistics show that the number of STDs reported each year is rising, state lawmakers still vetoed a bill that would have required all public school districts to provide students with medically accurate and comprehensive sex education classes. Instead lawmakers overwhelming voted in favor of keeping abstinence based programs in the schools, even though statistics show that this is putting everyone’s health at risk.
Studies across the county show that when teens have access to the information they need to protect themselves from STDs, the number of infections reported each year dramatically decreases. This is also true regarding teen pregnancy rates, which are also rising across the state.
Instead educators are still required to teach students that abstinence is the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancies, along with all sexually transmitted diseases. While this is true regarding pregnancy, abstinence is the best method of prevention it does little to protect students and adults from all of the sexually transmitted infections.
Regular HIV testing in Orem is the best method of prevention, and it is also the only way to accurately detect the potentially deadly virus. Regular Herpes testing in Orem is also important, especially for high school students.
There are several reasons why the number of STDs reported each year keeps rising, but the main one remains a lack of education. Studies show that students are engaging in sexual activity more frequently, and at a younger age, and this is also made evident by the city’s high teen pregnancy rate.
Teens and young adults are not receiving the information they need to adequately protect themselves. While using protection during sexual activity is briefly covered in the classroom, students are still taught that abstinence is the best way to prevent STDs. They are not told how easy it can be to contract a sexually transmitted disease through other methods, and many students are not even sure how to properly use a condom. Most teens also graduate without understanding how important it is to be tested on a regular basis.
The city is staunchly conservative, and this does make it difficult for residents to have open and honest discussions about their sexual health. Some adults will even avoid testing simply because they are afraid that they might run into someone they know. The stigma that still surrounds sexually transmitted diseases has made it all but impossible for many residents to admit that their sexual health might be at risk.
Until these and other problems are resolved in this small city, residents can continue to expect to see high STD rates each year.
Often referred to as “Family City USA” it is hard for many residents to accept the fact that they are currently dealing with a growing STD crisis. The number of infections reported each year is rising, especially in teens and young adults. If is understandable if you don’t want to standing in the long lines at the STI clinics, and now you don’t have to. You can make one simple phone call and schedule confidential STD testing at a conveniently located lab. This way you can still take care of your sexual health without the fear of running into a familiar face.