According to the CDC and state health department the number of STDs reported annually is rising, and has been for the past twenty years.
While the statistics show that the metro area is seeing a spike in the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year, some area officials are quick to point out that they are still lower than state and national averages. This doesn’t mean that it’s not important to take care of your sexual health.
The number of Chlamydia incidents reported among teens and young adults has more than doubled in recent years, and Gonorrhea infections are also rising. Residents ages 18 to 24 do have the highest risk for contracting these two sexually transmitted infections, but they are not the only ones testing positive for a STD more often.
Adults over the age of 25 are testing positive for Syphilis and HIV with alarming frequency in recent years. After seeing the infection rates for these STDs decrease in the 1980’s, they are starting to increase again. This is particularly worrisome to health officials since it can take years in some cases for these STDs to display any noticeable symptoms. Without regular STI testing it is easy for residents to unknowingly spread these infectious diseases.
Some of the statistics highlighting the growing STD problem in the city and metro area include,
- In 2010 the state reported 2,586 cases of Chlamydia, compared to 3,993 in 2015.
- The area saw 422 new cases of Gonorrhea in 2015, compared to only 162 in 2010.
- HIV incidents rose by 10 in a 5 year period, and Syphilis infections doubled from 2010 to 2015.
The city is one of the few that offers age appropriate sex education to middle and high school students. While the state does not require its public schools to provide sex education beyond the federal mandates, this is not true in the city or metro area.
Not only are students taught about the dangers of HIV and STDs, they also learn how to protect themselves if they are sexually active. This comprehensive sex education program was introduced to students in the late 1960’s and has strived to provide teens with information that is pertinent to the times.
Unfortunately recent budget cuts might mean that the current sex education program is in danger of being reduced or even eliminated. This would mean that the majority of teens won’t have access to the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
With more than half of all graduating seniors admitting to being sexually active, it is important for everyone’s health that teens know how to prevent the spread of all STDs. This includes wearing a condom and being tested for all transmittable infections on a regular basis.
The best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is with regular visits to a STI clinic. Regular HIV testing in Portland is the best way to stop the spread of this potentially deadly disease, and it is also the only method capable of detecting the virus. Regular Herpes testing in Portland is also important, and the simple procedure only takes a few minutes.
Demographics do play a role in the STD rates. It is the largest metropolis in the state with the majority of the population residing within the city limits, and this alone will cause the area to have a higher STD rate.
The city is also dealing with recent and impending budget cuts, and this is being blamed for the increase in STD rates. Lack of funding has forced some neighborhood health centers to close their doors, while others can only afford to keep limited hours of operation. This is making it difficult for residents to get tested. Not only is it hard to find an open STD clinic, the ones that are typically come with long lines.
Recent changes to Medicaid are also affecting the city’s STD rates. Since regular and emergency testing is no longer covered by government sponsored health insurance many residents simply cannot afford the clinic or lab fees. This means that the majority of people that are at an increased risk can’t get the health care they need.
Medical advances are making it possible for residents to stay sexually active longer, and this is thought to be one of the factors to contributing to rising HIV and Syphilis rates. An increase in intravenous drug use and the sharing of needles is another reason the city is seeing its STD rates steadily climb.
Until these and other problems are resolved the city can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
There are plenty of attractions in the city to keep residents happily occupied, but before you start your day it is important to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising and this means that you need to get tested regularly. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in line, and now you don’t have to. With one quick and easy phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at the local lab. This way you can take responsibility for your sexual health, and still have time to explore one of the city’s Victorian mansions.