When people go into any type of medical or health care provider for testing, demographic and details about the type of testing completed along with the results are recorded and shared. Your privacy is strictly protected and your name or other information which could identify you is never shared. Health officials are more interested in general facts such as your area of residence, gender, age, ethnicity and financial background.
The reason for this is that this data can help them to determine which groups of people are the getting certain types of diseases with the most frequency. It is used to pinpoint risk factors and in figuring out who is at the most risk. Local health departments work with the Center for Disease Control by contributing all of this information into a national database. This makes it easier to compare the rates of one city with another and see where the highest concentrations of infection are. The following figures show the number of STD cases for selected types per 100,000 in population in this city.
- Syphilis- 5.5
- Gonorrhea- 119.8
- Chlamydia- 471.9 overall and 674.4 for women
This region differs from national averages for Chlamydia infections. Nationwide, the statistical information shows that women most often have twice the rate of infection as men do for this particular type. In Arizona, the rates are three times higher than those for men, raising significant concern for reaching epidemic proportions.
Alaskan Natives, American Indians and Blacks have consistently shown the highest rates for the last decade. Over 80% of cases are under the age of 30 with those age 20 to 24 showing the highest rates followed by the 15 to 24 group.
Gonorrhea rates are also on the rise with males who participate in male to male sex having the highest rates. In addition, studies show that they are more likely to present with multiple additional infections including HIV, Chlamydia and Syphilis. The risk for this group is significant in Maricopa County.
Analysts rely on the information that they receive to assess who is the most at risk based on those who have the highest rates and the consistency over these figures over several years’ figures. This is helpful in developing strategies to provide information that targets them specifically so they will more fully understand their risk and encourage them to get tested.
Although the rates for this region are high, there has been some progress made in curbing the growth rate, particularly for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. It is slow but shows progress towards slowing the spread. Much more still needs to be done.
Some people resist getting tested because they are embarrassed and do not want to go to their private physicians. They may also fear being seen at a provider that is known to provide these services. STD testing clinics offer private and confidential services for all who visit. They make every effort to maintain the clients anonymity. Free STD testing centers are also available for people who meet the income guidelines for free or reduced cost on services. Even though these resources are available, the numbers of those getting testing are still lower than what is needed. Breaking down the barriers of myth and hesitation is one of the largest challenges that health officials face in tackling the massive issue of STD epidemic.
Getting the information out to the most needy sectors of the population is the only solution to getting a handle on the problem. The bottom line is that people need to be informed about their risks and the solutions that are currently available for them. Mandatory sex ed programs in the public schools are helping to raise awareness. Public sex health education programs which are sponsored by local community organizations and testing providers are also available, but they do not always reach their intended audiences.
If you’ve had sex with multiple partners or with a person who does, you are in a higher risk category. You don’t need to have any symptoms to be infected. In the early stages, many of these diseases do not present themselves with any signs at all. When they do begin to appear, they can cause damage to your reproductive system and even worse. The best thing that you can do is to get tested so you’ll know for certain. Ordering testing is very easy and completing the process takes just a few moments at a local lab. They’ll protect your confidentiality and provide you with fasts and friendly testing services. You’ll get your results shortly so you can breathe a sigh of relief. If you do test positive, you’ll get treatment so you can move ahead with greater confidence and a better prognosis for your general health. You owe it to yourself to take this precaution.