According to the recent statistics released by the CDC and Yuma County Health Department, the number of STDs reported each year is rising. This might be surprising to some residents, especially when they learn that the rates have been increasing for the past twenty years.
The statistics show that sexually transmitted diseases are nothing new in this southwestern city, only now they have risen high enough that local officials all agree that they can no longer be ignored. These same statistics also indicate that the use of condoms and regular screenings could go a long ways towards helping residents protect their sexual health.
There is some good news in the statistics, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents are down slightly in women. Unfortunately the same is not true for men who are testing positive more often for Gonorrhea, primary and secondary Syphilis, along with HIV/AIDS. Herpes incidents are also rising in the city’s public schools, and this easily transmitted virus is affecting both men and women equally.
Over the last two decades health officials have noticed that sexually transmitted diseases are more common in African American, Hispanic and American Indians. This is slightly surprising given that the demographical makeup of the city is mainly Caucasian, especially during the winter when a large number of retirees call this southwestern city home.
With STD rates rising across the city and county, it is no longer possible to ignore the importance of everyone getting tested on a regular basis. Some of the other statistics recently released include,
- In 2014 the Gonorrhea rate for the city and county was reported at 51.3 per 100,000 residents.
- The Chlamydia rate in 2014 was reported at 483.9, compared to the state’s average of 469.6.
- HIV rates were reported at 115.1 per 100,000 in 2014 which is up slightly from previous years.
As STD rates continue to rise, along with teen pregnancies some law makers are beginning to think about making changes to the current sex education program being used by the public school districts. Instead of relying on religious based information that usually centers on abstinence, some local leaders are realizing that this is no longer enough to protect students.
One of the main changes currently being discussed is to make the classes “opt out”. This means that now parents will have to request that their child not participate in the program, otherwise it will be a standard part of the student’s curriculum. This small change could be enough to begin to lower the STD and pregnancy rates among teenagers.
Including medically accurate information on all STDs is another change that is being discussed, along with the importance of using condoms if students are going to be sexually active. Most educators now accept that teens are engaging in sexual activities, especially considering the large number of students that are pregnant each year.
The importance of regular HIV testing in Yuma also needs to be included in the curriculum, especially since it is the only way to positively detect the potentially deadly disease. Regular Herpes testing in Yuma is just as important, and it could help prevent the spread of the virus to other students and their families.
The demographics in this southwestern city change depending on the season, and this does affect its overall STD rates. During the winter months the population almost doubles due to the large number of retirees that call the city home. Thanks to advances in health care many of these wintertime residents are still sexually active, and this can and does cause the STD rates to spike occasionally.
Nationwide budget cuts to healthcare is also affecting the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year, especially since testing is no longer covered under many insurance plans. This is making it difficult for lower income residents to afford the cost of regular testing. Adding to the problem is the fact that there are simply not enough STI clinics to adequately treat everyone that might be infected. Staff shortages and long lines are forcing many residents to forego this important step in their health care routine.
A lack of education remains the biggest reason for the high number of STD incidents in the city and county. The majority of students graduate not knowing that their sexual health is already at risk. Even those that are abstaining from intercourse can still contract a STD since many can be spread through methods other than sex. Until everyone in the city understands how important STD testing is for their continued good health the number of incidents reported each year will continue to rise.
Before you head out for a day of golf or shopping it is important to take a few minutes and think about your sexual health. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the day waiting in long lines at the neighborhood clinic, and now you don’t have to. Simply by making one phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing at your convenience, and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab. This way you can still take care of your sexual health and have plenty of time to explore this growing city.