All of the local health care providers and clinics submit their data to health departments who then forward the information to the center for disease control. The data is included in a nationwide database and is accessible by anyone who has an interest in seeing the results. Client confidentiality is a top priority so no information that can identify an individual is used.
Demographic data is all that is collected because it is useful for determining what the risk factors are. In order to help prevent the spread of a disease, understanding the characteristics of the groups which have the highest rates makes it easier to customize strategies that include education and providing additional testing resources for certain sectors of the public. Age, gender, financial status, sexual orientation, ethnicity and area of residence demographics are the most useful for analysts looking for trends and patterns in incidence.
The table below shows the results for STD testing in the region. The numbers are representative of those who have been tested and the data tells us how many results were positive out of a base of 100,000 in population.
- Syphilis (All stages) – 4.3
- Chlamydia – 387.8
- Gonorrhea – 73.6
A quick glance of the statistics for neighboring regions shows that the STD rates for Stamfort are lower than most, but they are still too high for comfort. Measures are currently underway to alert the public about the factors that put them at risk for STDs and who should get testing. A lack of testing among high risk groups may also be a factor in lower rates. The figures only include those who have gone through the process. If everyone who “should” get tested would, it is believed by health department professionals that the rates would rise significantly.
It is now common for all students within the public schools to receive sexual health education. This is a positive step towards eradicating STDs in the area. They learn about safe sex, the benefits of abstinence, how to recognize an STD and where to go for testing.
There is a high number of residents in the low income brackets. People who live at or below the poverty level are at a high risk for missing out on public education about their sexual health. Many are not aware of the current rates of infection in their area, what symptoms to look for or where to go for testing and treatment. It is possible to have an STD without any symptoms in the early stages. Some may feel intimidated or too embarrassed to go in for testing because they don’t want their private physician or friends who may show up in the waiting room to find out.
The reality of the situation is that STD infection is a condition that can seriously impact sexual and overall health. Early detection and treatment is the second highest goal above prevention education. Although not all people have access to quality health care resources, there are free STD testing centers in the area which offer free or reduced rates based upon income levels. They strive to provide high quality services which include private and confidential testing services. There are laws currently in place to strictly guard health information so it cannot legally be shared with others. It is entirely possible to get tested and keep it a private matter.