The latest statistics released by the CDC and Alabama State Health Department indicate that the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year is rising at an alarming rate. These statistics also show that the rising STD rates are not new, and that this trend has been occurring over the last twenty years.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are increasing in frequency in both women and men. The statistics also shows that teens no longer have the greatest risk for infection, instead the rates are now higher in young adults. In 2015 there were 6,564 cases of Chlamydia reported in women ages 20 to 24.
It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates that are increasing in the city and county, but Syphilis and HIV incidents are up as well. This is particularly worrisome for local health officials due to the potentially deadly nature of these sexually transmitted diseases. With STD rates rising in this southern city, it has never been so important for residents to get tested at least once or twice a year.
Some of the statistics that highlight the importance of regular STD testing include,
- In 2014 there were 1,468 cases of Chlamydia reported, compared to the 6,564 incidents that were reported a year later in women alone.
- The county saw 292 Gonorrhea incidents in 2014, compared to the 159 reported in neighboring Lee County.
- African American males accounted for 359 out of the total 532 Syphilis incidents reported in the county in 2015.
The state of Alabama currently does not require its public schools to include comprehensive sex education programs in their curriculums. While birth control and HIV/AIDS are discussed in health classes, abstinence is strongly encouraged at all grade levels. Parents can also opt their child out of these health classes, which means some students are not even getting this limited information.
It is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school not understanding all of the various ways STDs can actually be spread. While the majority of teens and young adults understand that birth control is necessary if they want to be sexually active and prevent pregnancy, how to properly use contraceptives is never discussed.
Students also do not learn about the importance of regular STD testing or that it is the best way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Not only is this putting teens’ health at risk, but also that of everyone that they come in contact with. Since some sexually transmitted infections can be spread by casual contact it is easy for them to pass the diseases one without even realizing it.
Studies have been done extensively on the dangers of not having comprehensive sex education classes in the public school systems, but the city and county still rely on outdated information. Some local officials state that sex education should be the parents’ responsibility, but most are not comfortable discussing this touchy subject with their children.
Unfortunately this means that students never learn that regular Herpes testing in Tuscaloosa can prevent this virus from spreading throughout area schools, and that it can also help keep them from contracting the disease. The same is also true regarding regular HIV testing in Tuscaloosa, and the simple procedure is also the only way to positively detect this potentially deadly virus.
Health officials cite several reasons for the high STD rates in the city that include its diverse population and strong conservative beliefs. This is making it difficult for local health officials and educators to inform everyone about the dangers associated with STDs and how important it is to be tested on a regular basis.
The lack of comprehensive sex education programs is also contributing to the area’s high STD incident rate, especially among teens and young adults. Without the information students need to keep themselves safe when they are sexually active, their chances of contracting a disease rises significantly. Since most residents aren’t aware of the importance of being tested regularly or how STDs can be transmitted, the number of those infected also keeps rising annually.
The city and county are also dealing with a lack of community STI clinics, and this is making it difficult for residents to find a place to get tested. The few testing centers that are still open are often understaffed, and the long lines that are common force many residents to put off this important checkup. Adding to the problem is the fact that STD testing is no longer covered under Medicaid, and this has made it difficult for many people to afford this important screening.
Before you take a tour of one of the university campuses or museums located in the city it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. STDs are on the rise in the city and this means that everyone is at risk. If you don’t want to stand in the long lines that are common at the city’s STI clinics there is a faster and easier way to get tested. Now you can make one simple phone call and schedule confidential STD testing, and only spend a few minutes at a convenient lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health and still have plenty of time to explore this historic city.