Even as STD rates start to decline in Seattle the number of incidents is rising in the metro area. This includes the small city of Renton, which has been watching its rates rise over the past twenty years.
The city and surrounding King County have been struggling with high STD rates for several years. In the first quarter of 2016 the number of reported incidents is already above those reported for all of 2015. This does not only include Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents, but also those for HIV and Syphilis.
Compiled by the CDC and Washington State Health Department, the recently released statistics are showing an alarming trend in who is most at risk. Women are testing positive for Chlamydia more often than men, but males are almost twice as likely to contract Gonorrhea.
Statistics also show that men are more than twice as likely to contract Syphilis, and this includes early, primary and secondary diagnoses. HIV rates are rising again in the first quarter of 2016, after showing signs of decreasing just a few years ago.
When all of these statistics are combined it shows that the county and city are dealing with a problem that is putting everyone’s health at risk. Health officials also expect this trend to continue, unless teens and adults understand how important it is to be tested for all STDs on a regular basis.
Some of the statistics released during the first 4 months of 2016 include,
- In 2015 there were 2,052 Chlamydia incidents reported compared to 2393 in the first quarter of 2016.
- By the end of the first four month period in 2016 there were 148 cases of Syphilis reported in the county.
- In 2014 there were 51 cases of HIV reported, compared to 60 in 2015.
When it comes to sex education in the public schools many students are graduating without getting the information they need to protect themselves from STDs. Most have never been tested for any of the sexually transmitted diseases, and do not realize how important this simple procedure is for their continued good health.
Currently the public school districts use the FLASH program which focuses on the benefits of abstinence, with a little information on HIV/AIDS included in the classes.
Parents have the right to approve or disapprove any of the information included in the programs, and can withdraw their children at any time without penalties. This means that some students are graduating not even aware of the threat HIV/AIDS can present.
The use of condoms and other forms of contraception are not discussed, even though the teen pregnancy rate is also rising at an alarming rate. Even though it is obvious in some cases that teens are sexually active, parents and school officials are still reluctant to change or update the information being taught in the classroom.
This means that many students do not understand how important regular HIV testing in Renton is, especially with the number of new incidents rising each year. Regular Herpes testing in Renton is also important, and it can help stop the spread of the virus in area high schools.
It is hard to pin down just one reason why the STD rates are so high in this small city. A lack of STD testing clinics nearby is making it difficult for residents to find a place to go. The few community health centers that are open are often understaffed and have limited hours of operation, which commonly results in long lines and overcrowded waiting rooms.
With many residents simply choosing to put off this important health checkup, it is easy to see why STD rates are rising.
A recent change to insurance plans is making it difficult for some residents to afford regular testing. Medicare is no longer legally allowed to cover the cost of the simple procedure, even though it is an important part of staying healthy.
The city of Renton is also not part of the program being tried out in Seattle, where partners of those who test positive for a STD can receive antibiotics anonymously. This program is being credited with helping to significantly lower the number of cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea reported in Seattle each year.
The biggest reason for the high STI rates remains the lack of information available to the public. Teens and young adults often do not realize that their behavior is putting them at risk. Since STDs can be spread through a variety of methods, this is also increasing other residents chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Before you head out to Lake Washington it is important to take a few minutes and take care of your sexual health. The number of STDs reported in the city is rising each year, and everyone is at risk regardless of their sexual activity. If you don’t want to spend the entire day standing in line at a free STD clinic there is a faster and easier way for you to get tested. You can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab. This way you can take responsibility for your sexual health and still have plenty of time to spend on the water.