STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) and testing are usually subjects nobody wants to think about or discuss. Within the past few years, STD’s have been on the rise in El Paso County. According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, Chlamydia exceeded statewide and national rates in 2015. There were 600 new cases for every 100,000 people in El Paso County. Texas’ state average was 488 per 100,000 people.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STD’s in the U.S. Chlamydia and other STD’s can cause complications in a pregnancy and several other health issues, especially if left untreated. According to STD Testing Plus website, 90 percent of males do not experience any symptoms. Between 70-95 percent of women do not have any symptoms. The STD is caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is spread through vaginal and anal intercourse. All STD’s are spread by a bacterial or viral infection. STD symptoms include: pain or burning during urination, pain in the lower abdomen, sores on or around the genital areas, itching in the genital areas and flu-like symptoms.
El Paso City Health Director Robert Resendes told KFOX News there are a couple of reasons why STD’s have been on the rise over the years. A younger population is sexually active and Fort Bliss soldiers “look for love in the wrong places.”El Paso’s Newspaper Tree reported in 2013 syphilis and HIV were on the rise. Resendes told the newspaper (the newspaper/blog published its last issue in 2014) El Paso’s proximity to an international border puts residents at a higher risk of spreading and catching diseases of any kind.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the earlier HIV is detected, the better a patient can be treated. HIV infection can take anywhere between five to 10 years to progress to AIDS. Many HIV-infected individuals do not learn they have HIV until they begin to already experience AIDS symptoms.
Resendes also told Newspaper Tree the spread of STD’s might be linked to people becoming less careful in safe sex practices.
Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told Newspaper Tree “Our advice is, as always, don’t have unprotected sex. Use condoms if you’re going to have sex. That will certainly help protect. And get tested. We recommend routine testing for HIV and get tested for other STD’s as well.” The Mayo Clinic recommends getting tested at least once a year, even if someone always practices safe sex.
The great thing about getting tested nowadays is that most of the process can be completed privately and online. The STD Testing Plus website helps test for various STD’s and HIV. For more info., check out the STD Testing Plus website here.
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