CDC Reports Highest STD Rates in the U.S., to Date
The 2015 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, annually released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that the combined amount of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported that year was the highest that the U.S. has ever seen. The majority of these cases are being seen in teenagers and young adults. In fact, the under-25 demographic was responsible for over half of all gonorrhea and chlamydia cases.
But the health industry’s ability to fight sexually transmitted diseases is dependent on state and local legislators. Unfortunately, many STD testing facilities and walk in clinics have been closed due to budget cuts. In 2012, 20 health departments reported the need to close their STD clinics. Since then, even more have closed.
Not only have there been a number of closings, but there’s also been a severe decrease in existing clinic hours, discouraging many from seeking STD testing or treatments.
The long-term consequences of untreated STDs are serious and include fertility problems, chronic pelvic pain, and other complications that may cause more incurable conditions — even death.
The federal government has the ability to help fund state and local treatment centers in conjunction with the CDC. But despite consistent increases in STD numbers nationwide, no measures have been taken in increasing the federal STD treatment budget since 2003.
The most effective national response to the ongoing STD epidemic is the spread of awareness. Primary care health providers are encouraged to make STD prevention and treatment an integral part of their healthcare methods, especially in pregnant women.
Pregnant women are at risk of passing some STDs to their offspring during childbirth.
Additionally, school health education should put heavy emphasis on practicing safe sex, condom usage, and the benefits of mutual monogamy. Parents and providers should also offer access to necessary information regarding safe sex, as well as access to STD testing services.
As of now, STD services are heavily reactive, instead of being proactive. In order to decrease these problematic numbers of infections, more reliable testing centers should be available.
Luckily, urgent care centers are reliable testing sites and have the same laboratory equipment as many other walk in clinics, primary care offices, and the ER.
Like a walk in STD clinic, urgent care services come at a first come-first served basis, with over half of all patients waiting less than 15 minutes to be seen, and 80% of patients waiting no more than an hour.
If you think that you have contracted an STD, there’s no time to lose. If you’re in the greater Phoenix area, come toAFC/Doctors Express for the most prompt and effective testing services.