It has now become impossible to ignore the rising STD rate in the city and surrounding Fulton County. As part of the Atlanta metro area health officials expect the number of venereal diseases transmitted each year to be rather high, but no one was prepared to have some of the highest rates in the state.
According to statistics released by the Fulton County Department of Health and the CDC the city and county have the dubious distinction of having the highest HIV rate in the state, along with that for all types of infectious Syphilis.
What is really surprising and alarming to some residents is the fact that these numbers have been steadily increasing for the last twenty years. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections are up in young women and men, especially among African Americans ages 20 10 24. Teens are also testing positive for these STIs at an alarming rate, and Herpes infections are increasing in students.
African American men are also among those with the highest risk for contracting HIV, regardless of their sexual orientation. Since 2008, the city and the rest of the metro area have had one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the nation.
All of these statistics clearly indicate that STDs are a real problem, and that it is vital that everyone get tested on a regular basis. Some of the other statistics that highlight the growing STD problem include,
- The state ranked 3rd in the nation of Syphilis incidents with the majority occurring in Fulton County.
- African American males in the city and county account for the majority of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the greater metro area.
- In 2014 the Chlamydia rate for the county was reported at 723.3 per 100,000 residents compared to the state’s average of 534.
Like many other states Georgia does not require its public schools to teach comprehensive sex education, instead abstinence is strongly promoted. According to the a reported issued by the CDC in 2015, over two-thirds of all Georgia public schools fail to educate students in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Students are taught the basics of HIV/AIDS prevention, as required by federal law, but this is simply not enough. Studies have shown that teens are becoming sexually active at a younger age, and the majority of them have had intercourse at least once before high school graduation. This is even with educators and community leaders teaching that an abstinence based life style until marriage is the best way to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies.
While abstaining from sexual activity is the most effective way to prevent pregnancies, it does not stop the spread of STDs. Sexually transmitted infections can be spread through a variety of methods, which is why it is so important for students to have access to the information they need to protect themselves from STIs.
This includes regular HIV testing in Roswell, and this is not just important for students. The virus can and does infect everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity or sexual preference. Regular Herpes testing in Roswell is also critical for everyone’s continued good health, and the simple procedure could finally stop the virus from spreading through area high schools.
Even though cultural and religious beliefs do play a role in the city’s STD rates, the majority of residents are conservative, this is not the main reason Roswell and surrounding Fulton County have one of the highest infection rates in the state.
The lack of comprehensive sex education programs in the city’s public school system is leaving teens and young adults ill-equipped to deal with the dangers associated with STDs. It is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school not realized how important it is to use protection when they are sexually active, and that it is not just for preventing unplanned pregnancies. Even more alarming is the fact the many high school graduates do not even know how to properly use a condom.
This also means that the importance of STD testing is not discussed, and this is why the infections rates have climbed so high. Not all transmittable diseases display immediate signs and symptoms, and it is possible to contract one without engaging in sexual activity. Even if you don’t think you are at risk, you could still be infected with a STD.
It is also important to remember that regular STD testing is currently the only way to detect many of these diseases, including HIV/AIDS. In some cases getting tested could help save your life.
Before you tour the historic Presbyterian Church or take in the scenery at Big Creek Dam it is important to take a few minutes to consider your sexual health. Getting tested at a nearby STI clinic is an important part of any health care routine, and the simple procedure is quick and painless. While there are community STD centers in the city many residents simply don’t want to wait in the long lines. Now you can easily schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call, and only spend a few minutes at a conveniently located lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health and still make it to a few of the city’s parks.