Every major metropolitan area has its weakness. In Richmond, the rising STD rates are among the top areas of concern. Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes and Gonorrhea cases are being reported. STD clinics offer confidential and private testing and free testing centers are available for people with low income status. STD testing is easy to private and easy to order. After your order is placed, you’ll just need to finish up with a visit to a nearby testing lab. This usually takes about fifteen to twenty minutes or less to complete. You’re information is kept private so there is no need to worry about confidentiality breaches.
Every time a person is tested for an STD, local providers forward some of the demographic information to the health department. There is no need to worry about your privacy because no information that could be used to identify you is shared. The health department just wants general information that they can use to monitor the health of the area and generate annual reports that reflect STD rates. This is done for many different health concerns among the population including cancer rates, cardiac issues, live births, deaths and other data that falls under the classification of vital statistics.
The following table shows the results for this region based upon positive results per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 459.9
- Gonorrhea- 118.5
- Syphilis (all stages)- 29.8
The rates for this region of the country fall within the top 22 or higher for all three of these sexually transmitted diseases. This causes great concern for local health departments as well as for the Center for Disease Control. The problem is obvious and steps must be taken to slow down the spread in this area. Chlamydia rates are double for women when compared to those of men. Gonorrhea and Syphilis are slightly higher in male populations than for females. Men who participate in male to male sex have the highest incidences of HIV, Syphilis and combination diagnoses with multiple STDs. Blacks have the highest rates for all STDs with regard to ethnicity statistics. They are followed by Alaskan Natives/American Indians, Hispanics, Whites, Asians and unknown ethnic status. The reason that this data is important is that it helps to identify which specific groups of persons are at the highest risk so educational campaigns can help to target them for education and health based assistance programs.
The makeup of a community has great bearing on the number of STD tests which are administered. There is a tendency for regions with high poverty levels to have lower numbers of tests performed outside or mandatory pregnancy screenings. It is believed that this is the case because there are financial constraints and a lack of information that prevents people from seeking out quality medical care.
Local health departments and the CDC are aware of some of the obstacles that are preventing at risk individuals from obtaining the testing and treatment that they need. Government programs are currently active in providing subsidization for STD testing and treatment. The problem is that not everyone is aware of the services that are available. There must be an increase in the information being distributed. Currently, pamphlets are placed in the lobbies of health care providers along with posters and public service announcements that provide information.
Public schools provide their students with sexual health education classes that inform them about the dangers of unprotected sex, how to have safe sex and the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and STD infection. Students who complete these classes know where they need to go to get HIV or Herpes testing. It is believed that this will help to lessen the STD rates in the future, but they are currently above acceptable levels. While these efforts are necessary and helpful, they are not reaching a high enough sector of the population and more needs to be done.
Each person can do their part to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. If you are at any degree of risk for having an STD, get tested. Ordering testing is simple and it doesn’t take long. After completing the order, all you need to do is to follow up with a trip to a local testing lab. There you will receive private and confidential STD testing completion. The process won’t take long at all. You can expect to be there for between fifteen and twenty minutes total in most cases. Your results will be sent to you confidentially and they will arrive quickly. If you test positive, you will be able to follow up with the treatment that is needed to improve your sexual health. You can also get more information about safe sex practices to prevent STD infection.
If everyone who is at risk would get tested and follow up with treatment if needed, our nation would see the STD rates plummet. We owe it not only to ourselves to protect our sexual health, but to our children and their children that will follow. The current STD epidemic is spiraling out of control, but as a nation, we still have the capacity to take the necessary actions to stamp out this issue. In addition to taking personal action through testing, it is important for all parents to make sure that their children understand the importance of safe sex practices and when it is necessary to get tested.