From 1999 to 2011 statistics show that Chlamydia rates rose in the city and surrounding Macomb county, and the Michigan Department of Health also reported that the majority of these cases occurred in females ages 15 to 24. Gonorrhea incidents were also highest in teens and young adults, and statistics also indicated that African Americans are among those with the greatest risk.
These are just some of the statistics released by the CDC and state health department that indicate just how serious the city’s STD rate is becoming.
For the past twenty years the quiet suburb has been watching the number of residents who test positive for a sexually transmittable disease increase, and health officials are worried that this trend will continue. HIV/AIDS diagnoses are also becoming more frequent, and in 2012 the area exceeded national averages.
Sexually transmitted diseases are not limited to age, gender or ethnicity, and this is an important point area health officials are trying to communicate to area residents. The same statistics that show STD rates rising also indicate that everyone in the community is at risk.
Some statistics that health officials want residents to be aware of include,
- Chlamydia rates in 2012 were reported at 565.3 per 100,000 residents.
- In 2012 it was reported that Gonorrhea rates were at 188.1 compared to other cities with a minimum rate of 37.3 per 100,000 residents.
- 2013 saw 372 new HIV diagnoses in the area.
- 187 residents died from complications associated with HIV/AIDS in 2012.
With STD rates rising in the city and county, it is surprising to learn that there are not comprehensive sexual education programs in place in area schools. The public school system still follows the abstinence only program outline in the 1980’s, though officials have updated the medical information regarding HIV/AIDS as required by federal law.
This resistance to implementing comprehensive sexual education classes in the school system is only serving to put students at risk. Surveys have shown that over 60 percent of teens are sexually active before graduation, and without the necessary information students have no way of knowing that their behaviors might be putting them at risk.
The lack of education is also affecting the health of residents of all ages, and as some law makers continue to resist efforts to improve sexual education in the classroom the number of students who test positive for an STD continues to rise. This includes the Herpes virus which is common in schools, and many students do not know that they can contract this STD without engaging in sex. Regular Herpes testing in Warren can help treat and stop the spread of the virus, and it is something that every high school student should do.
It is also important for residents to have regular HIV testing in Warren, especially considering its high rate of infections.
This car crazy city has some unique demographical factors which are causing STD rates to increase each year.
One of the biggest factors is the decades long slump in the auto industry that has affected incomes and city budgets. Job losses has made it difficult for the majority of the city’s residents to afford regular testing, and huge budget cuts has forced officials to make difficult choices and close many community health centers. This has had the largest impact on traditionally African American and Hispanic neighborhoods where there was already a shortage of public facilities.
Fighting among elected officials concerning the sex education programs implemented in schools is also contributing to the health epidemic, and many students never realize that they are at risk.
This blue collar city has extremely conservative beliefs, and this is making it extremely difficult for there to be any discussions regarding sex. Most residents are still in favor of relying on the outdated abstinence only programs to keep students safe, and it is not uncommon for parents to refuse to allow their children to attend these moderately informative classes.
The good news is that the area is finally beginning to come out of its devastating recession which even made it difficult for elected officials to keep the city’s electricity turned on. With more money starting to flow into the area, some progressive leaders are hopeful that this might lead to a reopening of some neighborhood clinics.
While disagreements continue regarding how to slow the spread of STDs, residents can still protect themselves by being screened regularly.
Before getting caught up in a cool, classic car or the latest model off of the assembly line it is important to take a couple of minutes and think about your sexual health. Getting checked out by a health care provider can be difficult with many of the clinics closed, but now residents have another option. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a local lab. It is a fast and convenient way to take care of your sexual health, and still gives you plenty of time to see how fast your car can cover a quarter mile on the track.