If the city was still the rough town that was mainly populated by cowboys and miners the high STD ratings might make sense to health officials, but Pueblo has dramatically changed into a community filled with skilled artists and entrepreneurs. With this shift in the city demographics it would be logical to think that the number of sexually transmitted diseases would be low, but this does not seem to be true.
The Colorado Department of Public Health released statistics for the city and county which show that STDs rates have been rising for the past ten years. Even though these percentages are lower than some other areas in the state, it should be noted that the city also has a smaller population.
Many of the statistics follow national trends, but there are some differences in this western city. Caucasians have a higher rate of infection than other ethnicities, and more women are likely to contract Gonorrhea than men. This is the exact opposite as the data reported in other regions, though the at risk and age groups are the same across the state. Women and men between 20 and 24 years of age are among those with the highest risk of contracting a STD at least once.
Some of the other statistics released by the state health department include,
- In 2010 there were a total of 41 cases of Gonorrhea, compared to 221 reported in 2014
- Women accounted for 564 cases of Chlamydia in 2014, while 216 were reported in men
- The number of cases of primary and secondary Syphilis reported in the area doubled between 2010 and 2014.
There have been changes made to the states requirements for sexual education programs in the classroom, and most teachers and health officials are worried that this will adversely affect students. With STD percentages rising, along with the number of teen pregnancies some educators are hoping that these changes are not permanent.
Recent shortages in funding are the main reason that the sex education programs are being cut across the state, and this can be potentially devastating for smaller, less populated cities. Not only are the majority of these cities lacking in resources for public health care, now they are also missing the information residents need to protect themselves.
Some law makers believe that abstinence based programs are enough to discourage teens from engaging in sex, but this will not stop the spread of venereal diseases. Not all STDs are contracted through sex, and these viruses can be spread in several different ways. While abstinence can help lower teen pregnancy rates, it cannot protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.
The only way to stop the spread and lower STD rates is by everyone getting checked for sexually transmitted diseases. One way is by regular Herpes testing in Pueblo since this is one of the most common STD found in schools. Regular HIV testing in Pueblo is also important regardless of age or sexual activity.
There are several reasons why the number of sexually transmitted diseases each year continue to rise, and one of the main factors is the fact that very few residents understand how important it is to get tested. While testing won’t cure the disease or provide protection, it will let you know if you have contracted one so you can begin treating it. In some cases the only way to know if you are infected is by testing. Regular checkups will also help protect others since you won’t be passing the STD on to them.
Without sexual education programs in the public schools students will continue to engage in risky behavior, without even realizing it. Many teens are unaware of the importance of always using protection, and it is not uncommon for them to be unfamiliar with the various types of contraceptives. This lack of information not only puts teens at risk while they are still in school, it can continue to be a problem as they enter into adulthood.
The small city also faced budget cuts to its public health care program, which has left many residents without a way to get tested. Lower income residents often cannot afford regular testing, especially if it is a large family. The shortage of funding also resulted in the closing of many neighborhood centers, and while there are still a few places to go many residents do not want to spend their whole day waiting inside. While this is understandable, it is still not a good enough reason to put their sexual health at risk.
As you are strolling through the zoo and bird sanctuary you might want to take a few minutes and think about your sexual health. Even if you always practice safe sex you could still be at risk and not even know it. If you don’t want to try and see a health care professional at one of the understaffed centers, you could simply schedule confidential STD testing. It only takes a phone call to make the appointment, and then a few minutes of your time at a nearby lab. This way you can still enjoy the rest of your day in this historic city.