In 2015 the small city of Roanoke was listed as having the 47th highest rate of STD infections in the nation with 1014 reported cases in that year alone. This gives the city a rate of 1040.331 per 100,000 residents, which is not good news for an area already struggling with other problems.
It is not just Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates that are on the rise, but HIV rates are also climbing. In 2011 the HIV rate for the area was reported at 37 per 100,000 according to the CDC, and by June of 2016 it had risen to 71. The statistics also show that the HIV/AIDS virus is increasing in frequency across all demographics, which means that everyone is equally at risk regardless of age, ethnicity or sexual preference.
Teens and young adults are among those with the greatest risk for contracting Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, especially African American men and women. Older adults are also testing positive for sexually transmitted infections more often, and this includes primary and secondary Syphilis.
The state health department has also released statistics for the city and county that indicate the number of STDs transmitted in the area each year have been steadily increasing for the past two decades. This fact allow should make it clear to residents that the city is facing a growing health crisis and that the best way to protect themselves is to get tested for all STDs on a regular basis.
- In 2016 the HIV prevalence rate for the area was reported at 72 percent per 100,000 residents.
- During the first quarter of 2016 there were 57 cases of HIV reported.
Virginia has turned down the funding offered by the federal government to states that use the approved abstinence based programs. While this is a positive step towards ensuring students receive accurate and comprehensive information regarding the risks associated with being sexually active it is still not enough to slow down the spread of STDs.
Currently the state does not have set guidelines regarding the information taught to students in their health and sex classes and this has resulted in a large gap in their education. Since there aren’t any set guidelines individual districts and cities can decide on the information included, and it is not uncommon for school systems to exclude everything but the current facts on HIV/AIDS and the dangers this virus can pose.
The importance of using contraceptives and being tested for all STDs is rarely covered, and this is putting students’ health at risk. Not only are teens and young adults unaware of the dangers they are facing, it is not uncommon for students to be infected and not even realize it. This is also one of the main reasons the Herpes virus is so prevalent in area high schools.
The lack of a comprehensive sex education program is not only putting students at risk, but also that of their families. Since STIs can be spread through several different methods, it is easy for teens to pass some sexually transmitted diseases to others. This is why regular Herpes testing in Roanoke is so important.
Regular HIV testing in Roanoke is also critical for everyone’s continued good health, especially considering the city’s high rate of infection.
Even though this small city has a diverse population teens and young adults are among those with the highest risk of contracting a STD, according to CDC statistics. Teens in Roanoke had a Chlamydia infection rate that was twice that of state averages in 2013, and the percentage of Gonorrhea infections were 4 times higher. This alone should be enough to convince residents how important it is to be tested for all STDs.
The lack of comprehensive sex education programs is one of the contributing factors. Teens are not getting the information they need to protect themselves, and this can affect them for the rest of their lives. Some STDs are not curable, they can only be managed and many young adults state that they would have taken precautions if they had only known that they were putting themselves at risk.
Recent budget cuts to health care and a lack of funding has forced many STI clinics to close their doors. Community health centers are also finding it tough to stay open without funding. The clinics still open are often short staffed, and many now keep limited hours in effort to save money. All of this combined is making it difficult for residents to find a place to go when they are ready to be tested for STDs.
Social media and dating apps are also being blamed for the rising STD rate, but with regular testing all of these factors could be resolved.
One of the most important things you can do to take care of your health is to be tested for STDs. The simple procedure only takes a few minutes, and it could help save your life. It is understandable if you don’t want to wait all day in a crowded clinic, and now you don’t have to. With one quick and easy phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab. This still gives you plenty of time to explore the valley and hike along some of the mountain trails.