The Rhode Island Department of Health recently published troubling new findings regarding STD rates within the state. A number of the reported STD rates appear to be on the rise despite better educational efforts being made.
Read on for details behind Rhode Island’s climbing STD rates and what it means for the area.
STD Rates on the Rise
The report showed a 79% increase in cases of syphilis from 2013 to 2014. Gonorrhea diagnoses rose by about 30%. Similarly, reported HIV cases grew by approximately 33%. The rising STD rates seem to be centered around certain segments of the population. Men who have sex with men, Hispanic people, African American people and young adults all appear to be particularly vulnerable to these and other STDs.
Officials in Rhode Island think that a number of factors are contributing to the growing STD rates. The first of these is actually a positive factor. Improved STD testing is making it easier to quickly identify and treat STDs. More people have access to such testing and are taking advantage of it. Accordingly, more new cases are being reported.
The other major factor that officials believe is at play is the rise of social media. A growing number of people are using various social media websites and apps to facilitate casual or even anonymous sexual encounters. This means that sexual partners who engage in these activities often know next to nothing about each other, including their STD status. This makes it all too easy to quickly spread an STD.
Although the rise in STD rates is troubling, awareness is an important step toward protection. Officials in Rhode Island are encouraging people to routinely use condoms and to always be aware of their sexual partner’s health status. It’s also important for people who have STD symptoms to avoid sexual contact and to seek immediate medical treatment.
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