According to statistics released by the CDC and Berks County Health Department this impoverished city has been seeing a steady increase in its STD rates for the last twenty years. Out of the 67 counties in the state the area is ranked in the top 10 for its high HIV/AIDS rates, and the number of new cases reported is rising every year. The STD and teen pregnancy rates are at or above state averages, even though this is not one of the more heavily populated counties.
The recent statistics show that Chlamydia incidents are rising, especially in teens and young adults. Women ages 20 to 24 are among those with the greatest risk for contracting this sexually transmitted disease. Gonorrhea rates in men have seen the greatest increase in the last few years, and are now close to state averages. Health officials also warn that Gonorrhea is not just affect teens and adults 22 years of age and younger, but residents over 24 are testing positive more often.
Men are also at a higher risk for contracting infectious Syphilis and HIV. As of 2015 the majority of residents living with HIV in the area are men under the age of 40. The same is also true for Syphilis, though health officials warn that this might soon change since women are starting to test positive more often in the last two to three years.
With STDs rising at an alarming rate it has never been so important for residents to be tested on a regular basis. Here are some of the other statistics that highlight the growing health problem.
- The Chlamydia rate for the county was reported at 404.6 per 100,000 residents in 2015.
- In 2014 the county ranked in the top 10, out of 67 counties, for its high HIV/AIDS rates.
- Gonorrhea rates for the area in 2015 were 51.1 per 100,000 residents.
Even though the number of STDs reported each year are rising, along with teen pregnancy rates, the state still does not require its public school districts to provide students with sex education classes. If these programs are offered there are not any set guidelines for school districts to follow. This means that students often graduate from high school not realizing that their behavior could be putting their sexual health at risk.
Even though all public school districts are required by federal law to provide medically accurate information on how HIV/AIDS can be contracted, studies have indicated that this is not enough to help prevent the spread of STDs. Topics that include contraceptives, use of condoms and even the importance of regular STD testing are never discussed, and this is also thought to be one of the main contributing factors to the high STD and teen pregnancy rates.
Without the necessary information being easily accessible, teens and adults will continue to be at risk for contracting any of the STDs. This is also why regular HIV testing in Reading is so important, and the simple procedure could potentially save your life. Regular Herpes testing in Reading is also important if health officials and educators want to stop the virus from spreading through area high schools.
There are several reasons why the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year is rising in the county and city, but the main factor is the lack of education. It is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school not understanding the risks and responsibilities that come with being sexually active. Most teens do not realize how important it is to be tested regular regardless of sexual activity, and some do not even know how to properly use a condom.
Strong conservative beliefs that are prevalent in the area are making it difficult for teens and young adults to find someone to talk to if they think that they might have been affected by a STD. This is also causing many people to avoid the crowded STI clinics. Feelings of shame and embarrassment are common, and most residents do not want to run the risk of being spotted by friends and family at a community testing center.
This is also one of the poorest counties in the state, and this means that the majority of residents simply cannot afford regular STD testing fees. This is especially true now that the procedure is no longer covered by Medicaid. Since many residents can’t afford to pay the testing fees the majority do not seek the treatment they need even if they believe that they’ve been infected with a STD.
Before you head of to explore Daniel Boone’s birthplace or catch a hockey game at Santander Arena, it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that it is important for everyone to get tested. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in a long line, and now there is a faster and easier way to take care of your sexual health. You can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. This way you will even have time to catch the opening act at the Genesius Theatre.