With spring comes warmth and rain and also it’s national STD awareness month. It’s a little known observance by the CDC that pushes people to really talk in the open about sexually transmitted diseases and gives a chance for people to get tested in Rhode Island and across the country.
According to the Center for Disease Control an estimated 19 million people will become infected with an STD this year adding to the millions of years past. In fact out of those 19 million people half of them will be under the age of 25 which shows that more needs to be done to educate young people in the state.
Rhode Island is doing well though according to nation wide statistics. With RI being ranked 37th for chlamydia rates and 42nd for gonorrhea but more needs to be done. As of 2008 chlamydia infections were (313.6 per 100,000 persons) and gonorrhea infections were (29 per 100,000 persons) with women having a 2.5 higher percentage of infection than men. Other statistics like herpes and HPV often go undocumented so the numbers for those are skewed. HIV statistics below.
Image credit: Your STD Help
More can and needs to be done here in RI and across the country to start a decline in these numbers and the two greatest weapons we have are testing and proper education. While RI sex ed classes are satisfactory they could be much more effective. Here’s an excerpt from the NCSSE:
Rhode Island schools are required to provide “accurate information and instruction” on sexuality, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Schools must also teach “the responsibilities of family membership and adulthood, including issues related to reproduction, abstinence, dating, marriage, and parenthood, as well as information about sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality and lifestyles.” These classes must stress abstinence.
Notice the pushing for abstinence. That should be an important issue to discuss but so should proper condom usage which isn’t mentioned. By going after the root of the problem we can change these statistics for the better in a short period of time we just need to do it.
Without more proper education and routine yearly testing things could easily become worse and we can do better than this.
So this April, and the rest of the year for that matter, lets get this out into the open and make Rhode Island the 50th state in the country for STD statistics.