Thanks to the aggressive marketing campaign it is impossible to ignore the fact that STDs are on the rise in this small metro city and in surrounding Broward County. According to statistics recently released by the Broward County Health Department and CDC the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year is rising and has been for the past two decades.
Billboards around the county reflect the rising STD rate, and urge residents to get tested on a regular basis. While the advertising campaign is helping to get the message out that county currently has one of the highest STD rates in the state, judging by the recent statistics residents are still engaging in unprotected sex.
While Chlamydia rates are up in women, it is men that seem to be among those with the greatest risk for contracting a STD. Males in the 20 to 40 age bracket test positive more often for HIV/AIDS, along with infectious Syphilis and Gonorrhea. As of 2015 the county had the highest rate in the state for these sexually transmitted diseases, and the majority of these cases occurred in men.
The statistics also show that African American and Hispanic males are more than twice as likely to contract a STD as Caucasian men, and the same is true with women who test positive for a sexually transmitted disease. Some of the statistics residents should be aware of that highlight this growing health crisis include,
- As of 2015 Broward County had the second highest HIV rate in the state.
- The suburban city and county reported one of the highest rates for Syphilis in 2013, and the numbers have kept increasing.
- From 2014 to 2015 the county saw its HIV rates increase by 24 percent.
Even with STD rates rising the state still does not require its public school districts to have comprehensive sex education programs in place for students. This means that many teens and young adults are ill-equipped to deal with the risks and responsibilities that come with being sexually active.
The state does require its public school districts to offer abstinence based classes, though it does draw the line at allowing any material that might be construed as religiously biased. When it comes to these programs school districts are not even required to offer them, and some that do combine them with other classes. One school district even has its sex education program combined with its “culinary arts and career” classes.
Since students are not getting the information they need to protect themselves from STDs the rates keep rising throughout area primary and secondary schools. Studies show that teens are engaging in sexual activity even earlier now than in recent years, and this means that it is vital for their continued good health that they understand all of the risks associated with their behavior.
The lack of education means that most teens and young adults do not understand how important regular HIV testing in Sunrise is or that it can stop the spread of this potentially deadly disease to other residents. The same is also true regarding regular Herpes testing in Sunrise, and this simple procedure could stop the spread of this virus in area high schools.
Demographics plays a large role in this metro city’s high STD rates. The smaller size of the city means fewer STI clinics for residents to take advantage of and this is making it difficult for some people to find a convenient location to be tested. Since it is a suburban city it also receives less in funding, and this means many lower income residents simply cannot afford to pay for regular STD testing.
The largest contributing factor remains the lack of education. Teens are having sex at a younger age, and they simple do not know how to protect themselves. This often carries over into adulthood, and it is being blamed as one of the reasons Syphilis rates are highest in men ages 40 years old and younger. Until teens and adults understand how important it is to always use protection during intercourse, and recognize the need for regular testing, the city and county will continue to have higher than average STD rates.
An increase in intravenous drug use is also being blamed for the increase in HIV/AIDS and Syphilis rates, especially among men. Due to the lack of available information, many residents do not even realize that their behavior is putting their sexual health at risk. While increased advertising campaigns across the county are attempting to address this problem, it won’t be enough until everyone in the community begins to take responsibility for their sexual health.
Before heading to one of the area’s gorgeous beaches or spending the day shopping in the city it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. It is understandable if you don’t want to wait in the long lines at the community STI clinics, and now you don’t have to. Simply by making one quick phone call you can easily schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab, which still leaves you with plenty of time to hit the beach or get in 18 holes at the community golf course.