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.
- 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.
The state of Alabama currently doesn’t require 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.
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.
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of not having comprehensive sex education classes in the public school systems, but the city and county still rely on outdated information.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.
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.
The lack of comprehensive sex education 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.
Before you take a tour of one of the university campuses or museums located in the city think about your sexual health. Instead of sacrificing privacy at a free HIV testing center, there are STI clinics that are often open on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s fast and affordable, even with no-insurance.