This small suburb is dealing with the same STD crisis as the larger city it is a part of. According to recent statistics released by the county health department and CDC the number of sexually transmitted infections reported each year is rising, and has been for the past two decades.
The community and surrounding Miami-Dade County have the dubious distinction of having the highest rate for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis infections in the state, and this is also true for its other transmittable diseases. HIV/AIDS diagnoses are up, along with Herpes infections among high school students. In 2015 there were 41, 587 confirmed cases of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis reported and the numbers for this year are not expected to be any lower.
According to the data the number of sexually transmittable diseases has been increasing in the community since the early 1990’s. From 1994 to 1996 the STI rate was reported at 226.3 per 100,000 residents, compared to 529.8 in 2015. With STD rates more than doubling in a 10 year period it has never been so imported to be tested for all of the commonly transmitted diseases.
The statistics also show that young men and women are almost twice as likely to contract a venereal disease, and this also includes teens ages 15 to 18. It is not just Herpes or HPV that is affecting teens, but also Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Some of the other statistics that help to highlight the importance of scheduling regular STI testing include,
- In 2015 the state reported a STD rate of 555.03 per 100,000 residents with the county following closely behind with 529.8.
- STD rates have more than doubled in the community since 1996.
- From 2009 to 2014 the STD rates in the area have increased in teens by 5 percent.
In response to the high STD rates some communities in the state have taken their own steps to ensure students have the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. Studies have shown that areas that have comprehensive sex education programs typically see lower STD and teen pregnancy rates.
Unfortunately this is not the case in South Westside. The public school system still relies on abstinence based programs that only cover HIV prevention. While a little bit of information is better than none, the high STD rates definitively show that it is not enough.
Teens are having sex at a younger age and since the use of contraceptives are not covered in area schools it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that pregnancy rates are up. They are also taught that abstinence is the most effective method of preventing STDs, and research has shown that this is not accurate.
Regular Herpes testing in South Westside is the best way to prevent the virus from spreading throughout area schools, and it is only effective if everyone participates. The same is also true regarding regular HIV testing in South Westside, and it should also be noted that this simple procedure is currently the only way to detect the presence of the virus.
There are several reasons why the STD rates are so high in this community that includes its location. It is a part of Miami-Dade County and the greater metropolitan area, which means its STD rates are affected by the other suburbs. The majority of the community’s residents also work and play in the city, which can put them at a greater risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Recent budget cuts to the state’s health care system has also had an adverse effect on STD rates. The implementation of “Obamacare” has made it difficult for many residents to afford regular STD testing since it is no longer covered under government sponsored health care programs. The same budget cuts and recent changes in the law have caused many STI clinics to close its doors making it difficult for residents to find a place to get the health care they need.
The biggest factor that is causing STD rates to soar is the lack of information. Students often graduate from high school never realizing that their sexual health is at risk. Since the importance of regular STI screenings is never covered most do not even realize that they are already at risk. Until everyone in the community realizes that STD testing needs to be a part of their regular health care routine the number of residents that contract a sexually transmitted disease will continue to increase.
Before you decide to head into the city or just spend the day relaxing in the warm Florida sun it is important to take a few minutes and take care of your sexual health. If you don’t want to spend the day stuck inside a clinic but you still want to get tested there is a faster and easier option. You can schedule confidential STD testing simply with one phone call, and only spend a few minutes at a conveniently located lab. This way you can still be responsible for your sexual health and have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your day.