Health care providers such as private physicians, hospitals and STD testing centers participate in providing testing results to local health department authorizes and CDC centers. This is done in order to help identify who is at the highest risk for contracting particular sexually transmitted diseases. None of the information shared is personal enough to identify any individual. This measure ensures that your privacy is strictly protected. Demographic data such as region of residence, age, gender and ethnicity are submitted. The following data represents the number of positive tests reported in each category of STD per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 352
- Gonorrhea- 92
- Early Latent Syphilis-3.2
These are the figures available based upon persons who were tested. Health Department officials believe that if everyone in high risk groups would get tested, these numbers would be significantly higher. It is further estimated that there are high numbers of people who have contracted STDs and are not yet aware of it. This further spreads the infection rate and is a cause for concern and action.
One of the greatest challenges faced by epidemiologists who are trying to contain the spread of STDs is in reaching all segments of the population with the facts about unprotected sex and the potential dangers and consequences. Local governments have mandated the teaching of sexual health education classes in all public schools. This effort is designed to reach youth just prior to the age in which many will begin sexual experimentation. Consequences of unsafe sex such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are discussed. Students who complete these courses will know where to go for a Herpes test or HIV testing in the area.
Other efforts are made by community groups and public health officials in the form of Public Service Announcements, sponsored forums and the dispensation of literature that discusses the signs of STD infection, where to go for testing and treatment options. There is still a lot of work to be done in reaching the most vulnerable populations with this vital information.
Persons who are at or below the poverty level are at the highest risk for having undiagnosed STD infections. This is because many do not have access to educational resources or they may not have the finances to seek quality health care for STD testing and or treatment. There are some free STD testing clinics available, but they depend upon cyclical funding for the subsidization of fees. When the funding is exhausted for the cycle, there is the possibility that some people will need to wait until the accounts are replenished before they can receive their testing. In the meantime they may be perpetuating the spread of infections to other people.
Anyone who has unprotected sex is subject to STD infection. It can be passed innocently from a partner who is not aware that they are carrying a communicable disease. The only way to know for certain is to get tested. Statistics put together in report form give analysts a clear picture of who is the most at risk for certain types of STD infections. For the region, Chlamydia rates are the highest for women in the 15 to 19 age group followed by those who are 20 to 24. The rates for women are nearly double that of men. With regard to ethnicity, Blacks have the highest rates followed by Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians and then Whites.
Gonorrhea is highest among men with those who participate in male to male sex being the highest of all groups. The 15 to 19 age group has the highest rates forllowed by 29 to 24, 25 to 29 and 30 to 34 in this order. There is a positive correlation between Gonorrhea infection and HIV as well as Chlamydia coinfections in men who participate in male to male sexual relations.
If you have had unprotected sex you may have been exposed to STD infection. Monogamous partners do not generally pose a threat unless a pre-existing condition exists. People who have multiple partners or who are uncertain about the monogamy of their current or former partners are at significantly higher risk. The only way to know for certain is to get tested. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, because some STDs show few or no symptoms in the beginning. You can quickly and easily order your STD testing and make a confidential trip to a local lab to complete the process. Professional and friendly staff will assist you in the short process and answer any questions that you may have.
You owe it to yourself, your friends and your loved ones to maintain the best possible health and that includes your sexual health because it can have an effect on your general well being. With just a few moments of your time, you’ll be on your way to enjoy all of the fun and excitement that Tacoma has to offer. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind you get by knowing for certain.