All hospitals, STD clinics and private physicians offices in the area submit regular reports to local health departments and the Center for Disease Control. The data that is sent includes demographical information such as client age, ethnicity, region of residence, the type of STD testing done and the results. No personally identifying information is shared as confidentiality is strictly protected. The reason for passing on this information is so health department analysts can put together an accurate assessment of which groups are at the highest risk for contracting specific sexually transmitted diseases. These groups can then be targeted for informational and educational campaigns to help get the word out about the risks associated with unprotected sex.
The following statistics show the STD infection rates for this region and are represented in percentages of the population which have tested positive in each category per 100,000 in population.
- Syphilis-6.6 (all types including Primary and Secondary and Early Latent)
These figures are based upon the numbers of people who completed STD testing. Health department officials believe that the actual rates would be much higher if all people who are in the highest risk groups were to get tested.
Because of the increasing numbers of people who test positive for particular STDs, health officials are aware of the need to take fast and decisive action. Educational campaigns to reach all segments of the population with a special emphasis on those who are in the highest risk groups have been launched. Discussions continue to come up with better strategies to reach more people with education about safe sex practices and the consequences of unprotected sex.
All public schools have been directed to include mandatory sexual health education classes in the standard curriculum. These courses are given just prior to the average age in which some youth begin to experiment with sex. They learn about how unprotected sex can result in unwanted pregnancy or STD infections. In addition, they learn about the signs and symptoms of certain types of STDs and how to get help. Upon completion, students will know where to get a herpes test or for HIV testing in the area.
There is a high rate of poverty in the region and this is believed to be a risk factor for contracting STDs in groups who are sexually active with multiple partners or with partners who are not monogamous. People who lack financial resources are at a disadvantage for exposure to educational materials that deal with STDs, safe sexual practices and the signs of infection. In addition, they may not have the resources needed to get testing and adequate health care for treatment of an STD. There are free STD testing centers available in the area which base their fee scale upon income criteria, however; the free services are contingent upon funding availability. If a center exhausts the funding, people who need testing are forced to wait until the next funding cycle replenishes the account. This can result in further spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia infection is the highest in women, particularly those in the 20 to 24 age group, followed by those who are 15 to 19. This trend has increased in the past decade showing a pattern of younger women having unsafe sex at an earlier age. Women are diagnosed with twice the frequency of men. From an ethnic standpoint, Blacks have the highest incidences of positive test results followed by Hispanics and then Whites. There has been an increasing trend in rising rates for Native American populations in recent years.
Gonorrhea is the most common in males who have slightly higher rates than women. men aged 20 to 24 have the highest rates in the area followed by those who are in the 15 to 19 group, again, showing a trend that points towards sexual encounters at younger ages. Blacks have the highest rates followed by Hispanics and then Whites.
Syphilis is seen most commonly in males who have sex with other males. There is a trend for increasing incidences of co-infections in this population, particularly Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV. Men have higher rates than women and it is most common in Blacks, Hispanics, Whites and Native Americans/Alaskan Indians.
If you are at any risk level for STD infection, then the best thing that you can do is to get tested. Your sexual health does have an impact upon your reproductive system and your general overall health. If left untreated, an STD can have serious repercussions. Just a few moments of your time can help you to have the answers that you need. Not all STDs produce symptoms in the early stages, so the only way to know for certain is to get tested. Testing is easy to order and it will only take a few moments of your time to visit a local testing lab. Friendly and professional technicians are available to assist you with private and confidential STD testing. They can help you to complete the process quickly and answer any questions that you may have. If you test positive, you can seek the treatment that you need and if your results are negative, you will have the peace of mind.