As part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area the independent city of Portsmouth is facing many of the same problems, and this includes a high rate of STDs among residents of all ages and ethnicities. According the Virginia Health Department and CDC, people that test positive for a STD has been increasing in the area at an alarming rate.
Each year the number of residents that receive treatment for STDs keeps increasing, especially among teens and young adults.
While health officials were prepared to see high number of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections, they were not ready for the increasing number of residents that are testing positive for Syphilis. Over the last ten years the number of primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses has rapidly increased, and is now causing real concern with state and local health officials.
Some of the statistics that highlight the need for residents to understand,
- In 2013 there were 1,030 cases of Chlamydia reported, compared to 1,050 in 2015.
- 2011 saw 289 Gonorrhea incidents, compared to the 352 reported in 2014.
- The city reported 18 cases of early Syphilis in 2011, and a total of 24 in 2014.
The state of Virginia relies heavily on its Family Life Program in the public schools. This program focus primarily on abstinence, and some educators even go so far as to declare sex immoral and evil if you are not married. While some parents and educators are hopeful that if nothing else these classes will scare impressionable teens away from sex, studies are showing that this is not the case.
Recent surveys and polls conducted in high schools across the nation show that teens are engaging in sexual activity at a young age, and that the majority of students have had intercourse at least once before they graduate. With statistics like these it is easy to see why this metro area has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state.
There have been recent changes to the Family Life Program that shows state and local officials are paying attention to the high STD rate. Along with ensuring that all information on STDs meets federal requirements and is medically accurate, students are also learning how to deal with transgender and identity issues.
While this is a start in the right direction students still need to know how important regular Herpes testing is in Portsmouth, and how it can help stop the spread of the disease in public schools. Regular HIV testing in Portsmouth is also important, and this information is still waiting to be included in the current sex education program.
There are several demographical factors that can be blamed for the metro area’s high STD rate. The city’s busy naval shipyard is constantly bringing in new sailors and soldiers that could be infected with a STD without even realizing it. Since sexually transmitted infections can be spread through a variety of methods, it can be easy to pass these diseases to other people.
Recent changes to federal health insurance policies are another reason for the rising STD rates, along with budget cuts to community facilities. Now that testing is now longer covered by Medicaid, many residents are finding they can’t afford this important checkup.
Other contributing factors include the appalling lack of information, along with the various steps residents can take to protect themselves. Until everyone understands how easily STDs can be spread and realizes the importance of regular testing, residents infected each year will only increase..
Before you head out to explore the natural beauty of Craney Island or tour the naval yard there’s something else you should do. Getting tested regularly for all of the STDs is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones, and the simple procedure doesn’t have to take all day. Local labs accept appointments and they are private. Fast and anonymous tests are their specialty.