The Center for Disease Control is working in conjunction with local health departments to gather as much information about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as possible. All test providers gather data and forward it to the center for inclusion in a national database. The purpose is to analyze the information sent and attempt to find out who is the most at risk for contracting certain types of STDs. The only information that is forwarded is age, gender, area of residence, ethnicity, income level and type of STD tested for with results. This is to protect the confidentiality of each client while gathering data for reporting purposes.
The following statistics show the percentage of persons who have tested positive for specific diseases per 100,000 in population.
- Chlamydia- 387.8
- Gonorrhea- 90.0
- Syphilis- 9.6
These figures were obtained from a study of all of the cases that were reported in the region by local hospitals, STD testing centers and private physicians’ clinics. They reflect the positive test ratios only for the segment of the population that has undergone testing for the respected sexually transmitted diseases. It is believed that if everyone who is at a significant risk for infection would get tested, that these results would be much higher. The main issue that the local health department is dealing with currently is how to reach the people who should get tested with information about their risk. The second problem is how to ensure that there is adequate funding for everyone to receive the testing and quality health care that is required for treatment.
Poverty is among the greatest risk factor that has been identified for impacts on sexual health in the area. There are significant pockets in the population of people at or below the poverty level. What this means is that many of them have not had the education about the need for safe sex for STD prevention. The dropout rates are higher than those from more affluent homes. Resources to receive testing are also fewer and quality health care options are more limited. While it is true that there are free centers for testing in the region, these clinics depend upon block grants to provide services at free or reduced rates. When the resources are depleted, there is often a waiting period until funds are replenished. People who are in need of testing and treatment may not have any other alternatives other than waiting. This can pose a serious hazard to their overall health and can also increase the spread of the disease if they are infected.
According to the analytics, women are twice as likely as men to test positive for Chlamydia with those age 20 to 24 the most at risk followed by the 15 to 19 year age bracket. Blacks have the highest rates followed by Whites, then Hispanics. Men have slightly higher rates for Gonorrhea and Syphilis with male to male sex resulting most often in dual diagnoses of HIV, Syphilis and Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections.
The state government officials realize the scope of the problem and have taken measures to reach as many in high risk categories as possible. Public health forums are sponsored by local clinics, health care providers and special interest groups to distribute literature and tell the community about the services that are available. PSAs are aired to encourage anyone who may be at risk to come in for testing. Pregnant women are routinely screened for STD infection as a part of their prenatal health care regimens. All public schools provide mandatory sexual health education for students at the age prior to when some will begin experimenting with their sexuality. These students learn about the consequences of unprotected sex including unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases of all types. They learn about the signs and symptoms to watch for and that not all STDs present symptoms in the early stages. Upon completion, they will know where to go for a Herpes test or for HIV testing.
The most compelling risk factor for getting an STD is if you have had unprotected sex with a partner and you are not certain that they are monogamous. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it doesn’t mean that you are not infected. The only way to know for certain is to get tested. You can be assured that your privacy will be protected with confidential STD testing. Ordering your test is easy and you only need drop by a local lab to complete the process. Friendly staff can answer your questions and get you in and out of the clinic quickly. Avoid the complications that can happen by ignoring the problem. Find the peace of mind that you need by making the time to get tested so you will know for certain.