Statistics that were recently released by the CDC and Palm Beach County Health Department show an alarming trend that has been occurring over the last twenty years. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and some rates have more than doubled.
According to the latest statistics the county has one of the highest STD rates in the state.
It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents that are increasing, Syphilis infections are also skyrocketing. What is particularly alarming to health officials is the sudden rise in new HIV diagnoses, especially in men. Overall, men are testing positive for a number of sexually transmitted diseases more often than women.
Chlamydia rates are highest in women, especially among females ages 15 to 24. Surprisingly women ages 18 to 24 are at a greater risk for contracting Gonorrhea, but this sexually transmitted disease is still more commonly diagnosed in men. Guys are also at an increased risk for HIV and Syphilis, and these STDs are affecting men at almost any age. African American and Hispanic residents do seem to test positive for a STD more frequently, followed closely by Caucasians.
What these statistics also show is that STDs can affect anyone regardless of age or ethnicity. Some of the other data that highlights the growing STD problem in the area include,
- New Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis incidents doubled from 2005 to 2014.
- In 2005 there were 144 new HIV cases reported in the county, compared to 299 in 2014.
- In 2014 there were 5,864 new cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis, according to county health department statistics.
With STD and teen pregnancy rates increasing at an alarming rate, the state’s sex education policy is starting to come under attack. The current law requires all public schools to promote abstinence until they are married, and teach the benefits of heterosexual marriage.
Not only is the current policy on sex education leaving students ill prepared to deal with the risks and dangers associated with being sexually active, it is offensive to many teens and their parents. The family dynamics are changing, and this means that the information students receive needs to be comprehensive and current.
Gender identity and the fact that parents can be the same sex are subjects that should be covered, but unfortunately this is not the case. Some abstinence based sex education classes can actually go so far as to make students feel ashamed and embarrassed, and this only increases their risks for contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
The use of contraceptives, including condoms, is never mentioned. Even though it is a proven method of preventing unplanned pregnancies and STDs. What is even more alarming is the fact that some teens graduate mistakenly believing that condoms do not provide any type of protection.
Regular Herpes testing in Royal Palm Beach is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of this virus, especially through local high schools. Thanks to federal law students are taught about the importance of regular HIV testing in Royal Palm Beach, though the rising infection rates do indicate that not everyone is following this advice.
There are several reasons why the unincorporated village and surrounding county are seeing a steady rise in their annual STD rates.
Its small size limits the number of neighborhood STI clinics, along with a miniscule budget for health care. The lack of community testing centers often makes it inconvenient, and even difficult for residents to take care of their sexual health.
Adding to the problem is the fact that STD testing is no longer covered under Medicaid. In a small city where the economy is already struggling, this can be devastating to residents on a fixed budget. Many are finding that they simply can’t afford to pay the expensive testing fees.
Many residents also feel that they are not at risk for a STD. Whether it is the small population, sunny weather or the fact that they are in a monogamous relationship, this false sense of security is contributing to the area’s high sexually transmitted disease rate.
The lack of comprehensive sex education in the schools is considered by health officials to be the main contributor to the area’s high STD rates. Students often learn information that is inaccurate and not pertinent to society today, and this is putting their sexual health at risk.
Until these and other issues are resolved, this sunny city can expect to see its STI rates continue to rise.
Visits to the wildlife sanctuary and exploring the village’s unique shops make it easy for residents to forget about taking care of their sexual health. The fact is that the number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means that it is important to get tested on a regular basis. If the thought of spending the entire day at a community health center is enough to cause you to take a chance with your sexual health, there is a faster and easier way to get tested. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab.