As part of the Boston metro area this small community is finding itself dealing with the same high STD rates. Statistics released by the Norfolk County Health Department and CDC indicate that the number of sexually transmitted diseases each year is rising, and has been for the last twenty years.
The statistics also show an interesting trend. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates have been dropping in teens, but are rising in young adults and older residents. Syphilis and HIV incidents are also increasing in frequency in residents 24 years of age and older, and this is particularly alarming to health officials.
Fifteen years ago Syphilis was considered to be “almost eradicated” and HIV rates were dropping across the state. According to the statistics these rates have been steadily increasing since 2008, and now the metro area has some of the highest percentages in the state.
African Americans account for the majority of STD incidents, followed closely by Caucasian and Hispanic residents. The statistics also show that STDs can and do affect everyone, regardless of sexual preference or age.
The recent data also shows that high school students are testing positive for the Herpes virus, and this means that this easily transmittable disease can be easily spread to other residents. Surprising health officials are the number of HPV tests that are coming back positive in teenage boys, and this transmittable virus can be easily prevented with a simple vaccination.
Some of the other statistics recently released that indicate the growing need for regular STI testing include,
- In 2014 the city and surrounding metro area had one of the highest Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates in the state.
- Since 2012 the number of reported STDs in the area has been steadily rising to some of the highest in the state.
- The HIV rate in the metro area was reported at 30.6 per 100,000 residents in 2014.
In 2015 the state passed a law that requires school districts to include age appropriate information on STDs and contraceptives if they offer sex education.
This new law does not require school districts to provide comprehensive sex education classes, it simply says that if the program is offered to students it must meet the new mandates. While this is a step in the right direction, it is still not enough to protect students from sexually transmitted diseases.
Like much of the state residents of this bedroom community are more comfortable with abstinence based programs, and some public schools have even removed the limited materials that they offered from their curriculums in an effort to avoid having to teach comprehensive classes. The majority of residents still believe that it should be left up to the parents’ discretion when it comes to discussing the dangers and responsibilities associated with being sexually active. While in theory this approach to sex education seems fine, many parents are simply not comfortable discussing this sensitive subject with their teenager.
This means that most students are not aware how important regular Herpes testing in Quincy is, especially when they are in high school where the virus is most prevalent. Regular HIV testing in Quincy is also vital regardless of whether you think your behavior is putting you at risk.
There are several reasons why the STD rates are rising in the metro area, which does include its close proximity to Boston. While this does affect the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year, it is not the only reason infection rates are rising at such an alarming rate.
The city’s lack of STI clinics is making it difficult for residents to find a convenient place to get tested, especially when you consider the long lines and crowded waiting rooms at the community health centers. Most residents don’t want to run into a familiar face or spend the entire day at the clinic, and this is not always possible at the city’s few testing centers.
Many residents are also finding it difficult to afford regular testing now that it is no longer covered under Medicaid. With many families still recovering financially after the stock and housing market collapse, regular STD testing is thought of as a luxury and not as an important part of a complete health care routine.
The lack of a comprehensive sex education program in the city’s public schools is the main contributing factor to the high number of residents that test positive for a venereal disease. Most students graduate without understanding how STDs are spread, and the subject of regular testing is rarely discussed. Until these and other problems are addressed, this small historic city can expect to continue to see high infectious disease rates.
Before you head over to Adams National Historic Park or catch some sun at Wollaston Beach it is important to take a few minutes and think about your sexual health. It is important to get tested for all STDs at least once or twice a year, more if your behavior is increasing your risk. If you don’t want to spend the day waiting at a community health center there is a faster and easier option. You can easily schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab taking care of your sexual health.