The city is the county seat of Indian River County, but it is better known as the home of Piper Aircraft and for its scenic, beautiful beaches. In 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that 251 people out of 100,000 in Indian River County were living with HIV.
This and other statistics show the importance of being tested for STDs on a regular basis. Some of those statistics collected by the CDC and the Florida Department of Health include:
- Indian River County has a rate for HIV infections of 259.7 per 100,000 compared to the State average of350.4 per 100 people.
- In 2013, over one third of adults, 46.9% reported having had an HIV test in their lifetime. Indian River County has lower reported testing for HIV than the state in the years shown.
- If there are 49 black men in a room in the county, statistics show one of them is living with HIV/AIDS. For women, it’s one in 71.
- In 2013 the Chlamydia infection rate for Indian River County was 344.9 per 100,000 (CDC)
Facts and charts like these are increasing the awareness in your community of the importance of regular STD testing and how it can help limit the spread of these infections.
The Florida Department of Health in Indian River County focuses on the 50+ population, particularly with regard to HIV/AIDS. They know that one of the hardest things you may hear in your lifetime is that you are infected with the HIV virus, or that you have AIDS.
In an effort to try to reduce the number of people affected by HIV or AIDS, the Department of Health offers HIV counseling, testing, and education. If you test positive for HIV, there is partner counseling and referral services. Informing one’s sex and needle sharing partners is a tough job, but they need to know.
Additionally they have field staff who conduct HIV counseling and testing in the community to at-risk individuals, and provide HIV outreach testing and counseling services. For individuals living with HIV, they offer prescription assistance through an AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
Going into business, church or organizations to provide free education is effective in preventing the spread of HIV or AIDS. By educating the community about the virus and how it is spread, they can make residents less fearful and more willing to participate in STD testing. Along with regular HIV testing, Herpes testing is very important since viral infections such as Herpes can be transmitted through asymptomatic casual contact with someone that has no visible symptoms.
According to the US Census data the city has a population of 15,577, a median household income of $37,937 and an average age of 51. The original Brooklyn Dodgers made this their winter home in 1948, one of the first teams to have spring training in the state. The Dodgers moved to Glendale, Arizona in 2009, but old historic Dodgertown has been renovated with shops and restaurants, and travel baseball and softball teams now play their big tournaments and showcases there.
With an older population comes special problems with STDs. Some older people may be ashamed or afraid of being tested and their doctors do not always think to test older patients. Sadly by the time they are diagnosed, the infections may be in the late stages and more difficult to cure, or in the case of HIV, more likely to progress to AIDS.
One reason the number of STD cases among older people is growing each year is because they often know less about STDs and how they spread than younger people do. They may not know the importance of using condoms and getting tested. Many widowed and divorced people are dating again and they believe STDs are not an issue for older people. Because of that, they are less likely to protect themselves. In the same way women who no longer worry about becoming pregnant may be less likely to use a condom and to practice safer sex.
Healthcare workers and educators often do not talk with middle-aged and older people about STD prevention. They are far less likely than younger people to talk about their sex lives or drug use with their doctors and the doctors may not ask older patients about their sex lives or drug use or talk to them about risky behaviors.
The city has a strict policy restricting building heights to four stories. This gives the area the look and feel of a seaside village. But even living in a small town you need to recognize the rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases. You should not let the fear of what you might find out linger in your mind, or the thoughts of spending hours waiting for the opportunity to be seen at a free STD clinic keep you from STD testing. There is now a resource for you to make an appointment for same day STD testing, avoid the potential embarrassment and save precious time. Invest 20 minutes for your health and the health of the ones you love, then it’s off to spend the rest of the day wandering the beautiful McKee Botanical Garden.