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HIV Cases Down 20% in the U.S.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made news this month with its report stating that HIV diagnoses have fallen dramatically overall in the past 10 years. Overall diagnoses of HIV decreased by about 20% from 2005 to 2014. This is huge progress, especially considering the statistics 30 years ago when the U.S. had its first documented cases of the virus. However, there’s more to these new statistics than first meets the eye.

HIV Cases Decreasing?

Will the overall numbers seem to paint a pretty picture for the reduction of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the U.S., some groups of people have seen troubling increases in instances of HIV. The group that has seen the highest increase is the African-American gay and bisexual community. In fact, the CDC reported that there has been about an 87% increase in the number of HIV diagnoses in 13-24-year-old African-American gay and bisexual males and Latino gay and bisexual males. Why have these groups experienced such an increase? There are several factors, most importantly including the low rate of condom use and the high rate of individuals who have not been tested and don’t know that they are HIV-positive.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the more encouraging overall numbers. In heterosexual adults, the number of cases has decreased by 35%. Women, in particular, have experienced a 40% decline, while African-Americans overall have seen cases go down by 22%. While these numbers are encouraging, it is important to be aware that for many people in the U.S., the dangers of contracting HIV are higher than ever.

The Importance of Testing

As shown by the CDC’s recent report, one of the most important tools in preventing the spread of HIV is getting tested. ARCpoint Labs nationwide provide accurate, confidential STD and HIV testing services. To learn more, contact your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!

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Student Health & Safe Sex: Why College Students Need STD Testing

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’re focusing on healthy relationships this month, starting with college students. Although Trojan’s 2013 report card reveals that some colleges are excelling in terms of sexual health, overall STDs are still on the rise among college-aged adults.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that gonorrhea and chlamydia rates are highest among 15 and 24-year olds, at 58% and 69% respectively. Overall, gonorrhea cases have risen 4.1% since 2011, and chlamydia 0.7% since 2011.

If these rates aren’t alarming enough, consider that they only include self-reported cases — meaning that thousands of STD infections could be slipping through the cracks. With serious long-term consequences at stake — including infertility, higher risk of HIV, and even death — it’s key that college-aged adults understand the importance of STD testing.

Continue reading “Student Health & Safe Sex: Why College Students Need STD Testing” »

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STDs and Infertility: Detect & Treat With STD Screening

You probably already know that STDs can lead to a host of medical conditions and complications for women, including cervical cancer and other potentially fatal diseases, making routine STD screening key for women’s health. But did you know that STDs can also cause infertility in women?

Even if having children is not currently a part of your life plan, if you intend to have kids down the line it’s important to realize the risks associated with STDs — and start taking detection and treatment seriously with STD screening.

Continue reading “STDs and Infertility: Detect & Treat With STD Screening” »

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CDC Reports 2012 STD Rates on the Rise

Each year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) releases its report revealing past STD rates, patterns, and observations. This January 2014, the full 2012 STD report came out, revealing that STD rates are on the rise nationally.

By viewing and understanding these STD rates, health care providers can predict trends for the upcoming year, helping them better adjust treatment plans and educational outreach.

How did STD rates change from 2011 to 2012? And what are some steps to prevent the spread of STDs, according to the CDC? Here are the facts.

2012 STD Rates

Because data on other STDs such as herpes, trichomoniasis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) often go unreported, the CDC’s 2012 report focuses on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Despite their higher report rates, many cases of these STDs also go undiagnosed and thus unreported — which means that the CDC’s report reveals only a hint of the reality of STDs in America.

STD Rates on the Rise

Compared to 2011, the 2012 STD rates all increased except for congenital syphilis:

  • ARCpoint Labs | CDC Reports 2012 STD Rates on the RiseChlamydia: 1,422,976 cases reported in 2012 compared to 1,412,791 in 2011, with the STD rates per 100,000 people increased by 0.7%
  • Gonorrhea: 334,826 cases reported in 2012 compared to 321,849 in 2011, with the STD rates per 100,000 people increased by 4.1% in the third consecutive year of rising rates
  • Syphilis (primary & secondary): 15,667 cases reported in 2012 compared to 13,970 in 2011 with the STD rates per 100,000 people increased 11.1%
  • Syphilis (congenital): 322 cases reported in 2012 compared to 360 in 2011, with the STD rates per 100,000 people decreased by 10%

Groups With the Highest STD rates

STDs can infect anyone, but according to the 2012 data, the following STD rates are highest among certain groups.

Syphilis

Men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher STD rates when it comes to syphilis, making up 75% of all people with the most infectious forms of syphilis (primary and secondary). When the disease in primary or secondary form goes untreated, it can lead to stroke and visual impairment, plus place the infected person at more risk for contracting HIV.

The CDC notes that risk behaviors such as unprotected sex do contribute to these higher levels of syphilis, but also that social factors like lower economic status and the prevalence of homophobia may prevent gay, bisexual, and MSM from seeking treatment for the disease. To stop these rising STD rates, we should focus on eliminating the social stigma linked with syphilis, and also encourage all sexually active gay, bisexual, and MSM to be screened for syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV at least yearly.

Gonorrhea & Chlamydia

Like in previous years, the 2012 CDC data on STD rates reveals that gonorrhea and chlamydia are most prevalent among Americans ages 15 – 24. Though both young adult men and women are affected by these soaring STD rates, the long-term repercussions are felt more heavily among women who run the risk of infertility due to undiagnosed STDs.

To combat these climbing STD rates, the CDC suggests yearly chlamydia screenings for sexually active women age 25 and under, plus gonorrhea screenings for at-risk women who are sexually active — for example, women with multiple sexual partners, or women who live in areas with high STD rates.

Fight Rising STD Rates With ARCpoint Labs

Worried you may be at risk for STD infection? Combat the inflating STD rates by getting confidential, reliable walk-in STD testing from your local ARCpoint Labs. We offer individual STD testing as well as comprehensive STD panels to detect a variety of diseases.

To lower your risk of STD rates, find the nearest ARCpoint Labs that offers STD testing!

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STD Awareness Month

April-is-STD-Awareness-monthDid you know that April is STD Awareness month? With a number of sexually transmitted diseases cases on the rise, this is the month that we need to begin combating the epidemic.

How you can help

You can start by joining with the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD). Last year they hosted an STD Awareness Blog series on RH Reality Check, and will be doing so again this month. Topics will vary, but they’ll cover ways to prevent and treat these dangerous infections and viruses.

They’ve also written an op-ed that can be sent to your local newspapers and lawmakers. Along with this op-ed, NCSD offers a number of other resources that can be utilized.

For more information on NCSD and how to join their fight, find out who they are on their website.

Why is STD Awareness important?

Perhaps sexually transmitted diseases are a topic no one really wants to talk about. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re harmful, on the rise and sometimes life threatening. Consider these statistics.

  • STDs cost the United States $16 billion in treatment
  • 19.7 million cases are diagnosed each year
  • There are 110 infections in the United States
  • People ages 15 to 24 account for half the cases
  • STDs are on the rise among the elderly

Preventing STDs goes beyond this April

While STD Awareness month is very important, raising awareness can’t be limited to one month out of the year. Keep using the available NCSD resources and Center for Disease Control resources. Take the steps to prevent the spread of STDs. If you’re sexually active, use protection and get tested regularly.

While this problem grows, you still have an opportunity to fight it. It’s about making the right choices. Choose to inform others about STD Awareness Month and how to prevent STDs.

An important step in STD Awareness is STD prevention. Let ARCpoint Labs help you prevent the spread of STDs with affordable, confidental STD tests.

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