Before you spend the day touring the various museums in Tulsa, Oklahoma it is important to stop in at one of the city’s STD clinics to be tested for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, C, Herpes, Syphilis and HIV. While there are several free STD testing centers in Tulsa, OK to help handle the city’s increasing sexually transmitted disease rate the long lines have many residents looking for a better option. Now you can schedule private STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend 15 to 20 minutes at the local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to the Zoo or make tee time at the Southern Hills Country Club.
Recently released statistics are showing an alarming trend in the STD rates in Tulsa and the surrounding county. For the past twenty years the number of reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases has been steadily rising, and health officials are worried that this trend is destined to continue.
Between 2004 and 2013 Chlamydia rates soared well above state and national percentages, and women between the ages of 20 to 24 years were at the greatest risk.
Women in the same age bracket also comprised the majority of Gonorrhea cases, which were also well above state and national averages.
It is not just women who are at risk of developing an STD, but men as well. The recent statistics show that over 80 percent of the cases of primary and secondary Syphilis were diagnosed in Caucasian males. What really surprised health care workers was the fact that men over 50 years of age accounted for 15.5 percent of the Syphilis diagnoses.
Health officials only expect these numbers to continue to rise, unless residents begin to understand the importance of regular STD testing. Some of the other statistics causing concern for city leaders and health officials include;
- Between 2011 and 2013 African Americans accounted for 57.5 percent of the diagnosed cases of Gonorrhea.
- While statistics show that between 2008 and 2010 Gonorrhea did grow, recent number show that this STD has been steadily increasing to a rate of 200 per 100,000 residents in 2012.
- In 2004 Chlamydia rates were below 400, in 2012 it had increased to over 500 per 100,000 residents.
- Between 2011 and 2013 men accounted for 85.2 percent of the HIV/AIDS diagnoses.
As the STD rates continue to rise in Tulsa and the surrounding county, city officials have taken the first steps to try and slow down the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Recognizing the importance of education, public schools are now implementing an “evidence based” program in high school classrooms. The sexual education program will not only cover abstinence, but it will also address the dangers associated with engaging in unprotected sex. Recognizing that many students are already sexually active, health officials and school administrators are hoping to educate students about the potential risks.
Included in the classes are discussions about birth control and preventing teen pregnancy, along with covering the risks associated with sexually transmitted diseases. Health officials are especially pleased to learn that students will also learn that not all STDs are passed through sexual contact, and that it is not uncommon for those infected to not display any recognizable symptoms.
With students hopefully beginning to understand the importance of always practicing safe sexual habits and getting tested regularly, many are hopeful that the STD rates among teens and young adults will begin to decrease.
This has also lead to an increase in regular HIV testing in Tulsa, which has always been a concern with health officials. More students are also getting regular Herpes testing in Tulsa, which is helping to slow down the spread of the contagious virus.
Demographics play an important role in the STD rate and this includes gender and age, along with social and economic factors.
Tulsa is traditionally a conservative community which often frowns on sex before marriage, which can make it difficult for some teens to discuss the problem of STDs with their parents. This is also contributing to the relatively high rate of teen pregnancies, though city leaders are hopeful that the new sexual education programs will help lower these statistics.
While the strong belief of some residents that abstinence is the best way to prevent the spread of STDs is contributing to the problem, it is not the only factor that is causing the rates to rise.
A shortage of community health centers in the city is making it difficult for some residents to get tested regularly, especially in the lower income neighborhoods. Inability to afford STD testing on a regular basis is a growing problem, especially in larger families. There is also the shame and embarrassment that many teens and adults feel when they contract a STD which makes it difficult for them to go to the clinic.
Even though the city is starting to take steps to educate students and parents about the dangers of engaging in risky sexual behavior, along with the importance of regular testing, until everyone is willing and able to visit a health care facility the STD rates will continue to rise.
Before you head out to the museums or decide to spend the day at the Turkey Mountain Wilderness Area it is important to take a few minutes and get tested for STDs. There are community health centers available for residents to visit, but the long lines and fear of possibly running into a family member or friend has many people avoiding this important test. Now you can easily schedule confidential STD testing with one quick phone call and only spend 20 minutes at the local lab. You can avoid the long lines and take care of your sexual health, and still have plenty of time to spend the day at the Big Splash Water Park.