Out of the 64 counties in the state of Florida, Hillsborough county ranks the eighth in STD infection. Since 2004 the rate of STD infection has been steadily rising. With Syphilis and chlamydia topping the list in terms of infection.According to a report released by the Hillsborough Health Department, out of every 100, 000 people there are 728 cases of STD infections.
According to a research that was conducted in 2010, from a sample of 29,016 people who were tested for HIV/AIDS, 412 people tested positive. These numbers have been skyrocketing with the increased social interaction in the county and lack of proper sexual education. According to a 2015 research, Chlamydia had the most reported cases with over 7,601. The cases have been increasing since then, with the youths between the ages of 20-24 having the highest infection rate.
From 2016 june, there has been a 65% increase in the rate of Syphilis infection. Out of the total cases that were investigated, 77% of the cases were as a result of MSM, men having sex with men. This has caused a scare in the health sector since 40% of those infected with Syphilis have HIV/AIDS.
Mid aged youths between the age of 15-24 years have the highest rates, covering a whooping 70% of the STD rates in the Town N country. Chlamydia, syphilis and Gonorrhea are the most prevalent STDs in the city. For instance, Syphilis has tripled in the number of infections while Gonorrhea has almost doubled since 2010. The rates for the three STDs have gone up from 723 to 740 cases out of 100, 000 people from 2014 to 2015. This can be explained by lack of sexual education and increase in unprotected sex in the county.
With the alarming increase in STD rates in the city and most particularly Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, the need for extensive sexual education is vital for the locals. Increased awareness has been made a priority by the county health department and the state health department.
All STDs are easily preventable if sexual education is provided extensively. Many non governmental organisations, public and private high schools, Universities, middle schools, health centers, Planned parenthoods and outreach programmes offer comprehensive sexual education. It covers all basic sex education, STD and pregnancy prevention measures like the use of condoms.
Education policies from the school boards have aided in sensitizing the locals on the importance of sexual education in Town n Country. One of the main policies of the school board is the teaching on the benefits of contraceptives in all public schools in an attempt to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Another policy is the teaching of abstinence as the only means of preventing HIV and other STDs in schools and Hiv prevention measures like the use of condoms in all age appropriate locals. They also include the importance of family child communication. This information is intended for students from their 6 th grade upwards and its exempted to students whom their parents feel they are not ready for comprehensive sexual education.
The Department of education in Hillsborough County has declared that all district schools to include education on Dating violence and abuse in their curriculum. This aims at enlightening the youth on the dangers and ways of determining a health dating or relationship free from abuse. They also teach abstinence only as the only means to stop early pregnancies and STDs amongst the youth.
The Universities and colleges along with the health centers and planned parenthood centers also offer basic sexual education and preventive measures to the locals. These institutions are helping fight STD transmission in Town n country. Outreach programs have also been staged to create awareness to the general public in city, so as to reduce the rate of infection.
Demographics also play a great role in the rate of STD transmission. With the population increasing steadily to over 78,000 people, the provision of most services become a challenge to many. This slows down the transfer of services and information as well as the delivery of sexual education. Most of the population lack the access of comprehensive sexual education and are prone to STD infection.
The increase in population leads to increase in crime levels like prostitution among other social crimes. This exacerbates the rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases infection in Town n country. With most of the syphilis cases being from men to men sex, the boy child is in danger due to ignorance and lack of information on sexual education.
Lack of good sexual education in Town n Country has drastically affected the rate of STD infection. Most schools don’t offer comprehensive sexual education to their students due to complaints from parents. Some parents feel that their children are too young to be exposed to sex education. Most of the private schools don’t offer comprehensive sexual education because it’s not included in their curriculum. This poses danger of infection and unwanted pregnancies to the youth. When parents opt out their children from Sexual education classes meanwhile the social media floods erotic sentiments and other obscene programs in televisions, they make their children vulnerable to STD infection.
Unemployment rate in the city has also deflated the fight against STDs, most of the youths have no jobs and idling for most hours triggers them to intimate interactions. Due to frustration and despair they don’t think of protection measures. This has facilitated the spread of STDs in the region. However, with most bodies and organisations chipping in with outreach programs to sensitize the locals on the need for STD testing, the situation is currently under control. In the foreseeable future, the rates of STD infection will reduce.
STI Testing Resources
STD infection in Town n Country being an outranging epidemic, the health facilities along with educational bodies and institutions have joined hands in the fight against STDs. Most of the facilities offer free HIV testing and other STD’s testing for a manageable price.
One of the most efficient and fast service facility is the Tampa Community Hospital. It offers accurate diagnosis for all STDs. Its one of the major public facilities in the city. It’s a walk-in basis hospital and offers counselling, testing and treatment services for all STDs. It also disburses condoms and gives education on contraceptive use to the locals. Most of the locals prefer this facility due to its client friendly prices and quality service. They also offer referrals on request.
Florida Department of Health Center, Hillsborough county is another great public facility that renders quality STD testing and treatment. With the city’s growing population, the need for a regular STD check up or testing is vital. This is also a walk-in basis facility where clients are attended as they turn up. They offer accurate STD diagnosis regardless of race, religion, place of origin or a visitor. They offer counselling services as well as treatment and management directions for the HIV patients. Their prices are fair to the locals as they aspire to serve a large population from different social classes.
Quest diagnostics is a private testing center for all STDs. They offer accurate and confidential diagnosis. You can set up an appointment or walk-in at anytime. They have proficient doctors and their employees are welcoming. They offer counselling, treatment and management services depending on the type of STD. Tampa Family Health Center is another private facility that offer quality and accurate diagnosis. They also offer both a walk-in basis and an appointment service. They offer contraceptive use information as well as STD prevention measures information. They also disburse condoms to the locals.
Fast Track Urgent Care is another center for STD testing and treatment. This is a walk in facility that offers fast quality services. They also disburse condoms to the locals. Whether visiting or a resident, you will be attended duly. BayCare Urgent Care is also an urgent care in the city that gives special attention to its clients. It’s also a walk-in basis center. If you need urgent attention regarding your STD status, visit of these urgent cares for a prompt screening.
Planned parenthood centers also offer STI testing services. With several branches across the city including Tampa health center and St. Petersburg health center, these facilities offer quality and fast services to the locals. They offer counselling as well as treatment and management for all STDs. Being equipped with all the above centers for STI testing and treatment, we can access easy and quick STD services regularly.
Better Sexual Health
Sexually transmitted diseases are all preventable, some are treatable while others like HIV/AIDS are manageable when detected at early stages. Having one of the STD’s should not condemn you to stigma, take that extra step and seek for STD testing and get treated as early as possible. With the use of contraceptives, condoms and comprehensive sexual education we can reduce the rate of STD transmission in Town n country.
Stepping up to sensitize our youth and the entire population in general on the importance of sexual education and abstinence as the means for curbing the spread of STDs would enhance our future generations safety. Setting up more centers for STD testing and organizing outreach programs to conduct STD testing and treatment would foster the health status for the city. This would also greatly impact the state’s health status. United for a common purpose of eradicating or reducing the rate of STD infection should be our health sector’s daily goal.
Here a some of the links to the resources mentioned above.