Additional STD Test Statistics in San Tan Valley, AZ
Health officials are seeing STD rates rising in your area as they decline in some of America’s larger cities. “Sexually transmitted diseases are still a big deal,” said Dr. Bob England, a Director of Public Health in the area.
Mr. England is most alarmed by a recent outbreak of syphilis. There is also a dramatic increase in new HIV infections.
Syphilis makes the human body more prone to blood borne pathogens. Gonorrhea is another STD that worries health officials in the state.
These concerns reflect recent developments in statewide cases. In 2015, there were a reported 122.9 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 persons. It is also important to note that this is a 7% increase from 2014.
Public health officials are trying to figure out why more cases of gonorrhea are being reported in Pinal County. Graham Briggs, the county’s administrator of infectious diseases and epidemiology, said his department has recently noticed a 40 percent increase in cases of the STD from the previous year.
The public health department is not sure what’s causing this trend. Briggs has not noticed the disease impacting any specific regions of the county.
Pinal County is following a statewide trend in higher instances of gonorrhea. The Arizona Department of Health Services has observed gonorrhea cases growing steadily across Arizona since 2009.
The state reported a 9 percent increase in gonorrhea cases between 2014 and 2015. Pinal County reported 304 cases in 2015, the third highest number behind Maricopa and Pima counties.
Last year, the state health department published a “resistance plan” to keep gonorrhea from becoming resistant to certain antibiotics. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious complications like infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. It can lead to blindness for infants born to mothers with gonorrhea.
In rare circumstances, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the disease can spread to a person’s blood and joints, causing a more life-threatening condition. The disease is much more prevalent in men than women in Arizona. Over the last five years, the gonorrhea case rate among men has increased 94 percent, while the case rate for women increased 53 percent.
Chlamydia remains the most common STD reported in Pinal County, but officials have not recently noticed any new trends with that disease. Briggs said it appears gonorrhea is continuing to mostly impact young people in their 20s across the county.
Residents wanting to get tested for gonorrhea should consult their primary doctor or visit one of the county’s 11 health clinics. One of these clinics is in San Tan Valley.
STD Testing and Sexual Health Education in San Tan Valley, AZ
Arizona public schools do not require the teaching of sexual education. This can create inconsistency in how the issue is handled across the state.
Arizona does not have a law requiring schools teach about STDs and HIV but the law does require if a school chooses to teach the topic, instruction must be age appropriate. It must also stress abstinence.
Some in Arizona believe that comprehensive, scientifically based and age appropriate sex education will help Arizona’s young people stay healthy and make smart decisions about their bodies.
They see a medically accurate and comprehensive education curriculum more effective to helping young people than an abstinence only until marriage approach. They see the current approach creating trends that are less than ideal. Here are some examples.
Arizona ranks second in the nation in regards to teen pregnancy. This places a burden on young mothers, babies, and family. The cost is personal and also costs taxpayers over 200 million dollars a year.
According to a recent report 79% of high school students in Arizona reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school compared to 90% of high school students nationwide. Among high school students who report being sexually active, 47% of females and 65% of males in Arizona reported using condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse.
This is compared to 55% of females and 69% of males nationwide. The Arizona numbers are lower for condom use but 45% of female high school students and 47% of male high school students in Arizona reported ever having had sexual intercourse. This compares to 46% of female high school students and 50% of male high school students nationwide.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in San Tan Valley, AZ
Demographics are an indicator of STD rates. We see several trends appearing in your area.
We should also note that STDs affect everyone regardless of race or gender. A look at trends and demographics can help us better understand those who have STDs.
Females are most likely to be affected by chlamydia. Teens and young adults are also the most vulnerable to this STD.
Males in Arizona are most affected by gonorrhea. This is true nationwide as well.
In the state, cases among males have increased 14% from 2012. These cases are especially concentrated among African Americans. Statistics show that there were 462.3 cases per 100,000 among African Americans, compared to roughly 56 cases among non-Hispanic whites.
Syphilis rates in Arizona are increasingly, and this increase is predominantly seen among males. From 2013 to 2015, there was a 106% increase in the STD rate among males.
These cases are primarily among men who have sex with men. Men who have sex with men continue to make up the majority of Arizona HIV/AIDS cases. From 2009-2012, they accounted for 58% of all emergent cases and 67% of emergent cases among men.
Among women, heterosexual contact made up 79% of emergent cases. 48% of female emergent cases were classified high-risk heterosexual transmission. This means heterosexual contact with a partner known to be HIV-infected or have a known HIV risk factor.
31% of female emergent cases were classified as presumed heterosexual transmission. This means no reported HIV risk factors except for heterosexual contact with a partner not classified as high-risk. Injection drug use accounted for 17% of emergent cases among women.
STI Testing Resources in San Tan Valley, AZ
It can be uncomfortable to talk about STI testing or find STI testing services in your area. But you should look at STI testing to maintain your health.
There are resources in your area that can help. There are options available for those of all ages, gender, and incomes.
The Mesa Health Center/Planned Parenthood is about 30 miles from your location. This could be a place that could help you if the trip is not a problem.
Here, you will find comprehensive sexual health services including STD testing. The clinic offers birth control education and supplies, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, STD testing and UTI treatment. STD testing and treatment includes bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
Condoms and vaccinations are also available here. If you are sexually active, think about getting tested today for syphilis if any of the following apply:
- Experiencing symptoms
- Being tested for other STDs
- Are pregnant
- HIV+ individuals who are sexually active
- Anyone engaging in high-risk sexual activity (consider testing every 3-6 months)
- Unprotected sex
- Sex with multiple and/or anonymous partners
- Use of hook-up sites and apps
You can also go to an area hospital, urgent care center, or private testing service for information on STDs, testing, and treatment. Several options are available to you.
Pinal County Public Health Services District – San Tan Valley Clinic is another option at their STD Clinic. They offer Chlamydia Testing, Gonorrhea Testing, Herpes Testing, Rapid Blood HIV Testing, Syphilis Testing, and TB Testing. They also offer vaccines and treatment that include Hep B vaccines, and HPV vaccines.
Better Sexual Health in San Tan Valley, AZ
A recent report by the Arizona Department of Health Services shows that overall STD rates in Arizona are on the rise. STDS in Arizona affect people of all races and gender.
Your area offers a variety of sexual health and STD testing resources including Planned Parenthood. The staff there is trained to help you in your situation.
You can find STD information at Planned Parenthood/Mesa Health Center, a local school through a nurse or counsellor, an area hospital, or an urgent care center.
Banner ironwood medical Center is a facility that can provide you with information about STDs, testing, and treatment. You can also get information from a counsellor or nurse at San Tan Foothills High School. Here are links to resources mentioned above.