According to statistics recently released by the CDC and Shasta County Health Department the number of STDs reported each year is rising. While the statistics show that some sexually transmitted disease rates have been increasing for the past twenty years, it is the last five that really caught health officials’ attention. Since 2010 Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates in particular have been skyrocketing.
While Chlamydia rates are still below state averages as of 2015, the same is not true for Gonorrhea. Since 2012 the infection rate for Gonorrhea has been above state averages, and by 2015 it was nearly double. This is particularly alarming considering the small city’s location in the northern part of the state. Its more rural location has given many residents the mistaken belief that this will help prevent STDs from affecting them.
With the county health department declaring that the high Gonorrhea rates classify it as an “outbreak” it has never been so important for residents to get tested for all STDs on a regular basis.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea is more prevalent in teens and young adults, but older residents are finding out that they are also at risk. Syphilis incidents are also rising, especially among older males. In fact the majority of primary and secondary Syphilis incidents occur in men ages 25 to 44. Adding to health officials concerns is the fact that HIV/AIDS diagnoses are also starting to increase in frequency.
Some of the statistics that highlight the growing problem with sexually transmitted diseases and the need for regular testing include,
- In 2015 the county reported a gonorrhea rate of 189.8 compared to the state average of an estimated 125.1 per 100,000 residents.
- The Chlamydia rate for the county in 2015 was reported at 354.8, compared to 210.2 in 2010.
- From 2014 to 2015 the Syphilis rate for the county nearby doubled.
In response to the rapidly rising STD rates the state recently took action in an attempt to slow and eventually stop the spread of these transmittable diseases. In 2016 all public school districts are required to use the new state approved curriculum in their sex education programs.
No longer are school districts allowed to use only abstinence based material. It must now be medically accurate, and most important pertain to students’ lives. State officials realize that teens are engaging in sexual activity at a younger age, judging by the abnormally high pregnancy rate, and ensuring that the information they receive is relevant to their lives is one of the first steps in combating the spread of all STDs.
This means that students will now learn about the importance of always using protection every time they engage in sexual activity. While abstinence will still be taught as the best method of preventing unplanned pregnancies, teens will learn that this cannot prevent the spread of all STDs. Discussions on dating and relationships, regardless sexual preference will also be discussed, along with the importance of STD testing.
Students will learn that regular HIV testing in Redding is the only way to detect the potentially deadly virus that can be contracted through methods other than intercourse. Regular Herpes testing in Redding is also covered, and health officials are hopeful that this will help slow down the spread of the highly contagious virus through area high schools.
Situated in the northern part of the state, one reason being blamed for the city’s high STD rate is its rural location. Not only does this mean fewer community STI testing centers, but it is also giving residents a false sense of security when it comes to their sexual health. Many people simply believe that this is actually helping to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.
The area’s rapidly rising infection rate shows this not to be the case, especially after the high Gonorrhea rate prompted health officials to label it as an epidemic. Simply because the town is located away from larger cities and has a smaller population does not mean that residents are not at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
The small city is located on the Sacramento River which is a popular destination for tourists, especially in the summertime. Turtle Bay and the sanctuary are also located nearby, and this also brings in visitors from around the county. Some of these tourists can already be infected with a sexually transmitted disease without even realizing it, and this means that they can also easily pass it onto to local residents. Without regular STD testing, everyone in Redding is potentially at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
With STD rates rising it is important for everyone to get tested on a regular basis, regardless of sexual activity. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in long lines at the community health centers, and now you don’t have to. You can easily take care of your sexual health simply by making one quick and easy phone call to schedule confidential STD testing at a nearby lab. It will only take a few minutes of your time so you can still enjoy a day at Clear Creek and even see the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay.