The United States has some of the highest numbers with regards to sexually transmitted diseases. Douglas county is reported to have among the highest rates in comparison to other states in the U.S, according to the State of Public Health report presented by Dr. Adi Pour one of the directors at the county’s health department.
Findings from the Report
Chlamydia rates in Douglas County are said to be at an all-time high in 2016 with most of the cases occurring in people ages 15 to 24 years. As well, gonorrhea cases in the area have increased by 30% in the same year with 325 more infections as compared to 2015.
STD rates are said to be heading to an epidemic level with numbers higher than state and national averages since 1998. It is for this reason that Adolescent Health Project was launched in the area in January 2014 by Women’s Fund of Omaha.
What is the Project all About?
Adolescent Health Project (AHP) main goal is to provide education on STDs to the youth to improve their knowledge on sexual health in the hope that it will reduce the figure that takes part in dangerous sexual activities. Reduction in STD rates among the youth as well as less teen pregnancies could be the end result of the project.
The project seeks to achieve this by coming up with community-wide alterations that are sustainable through a research-based, result-oriented inclusive approach. The initiative also hopes to increase the number of young people who test for STDs as well as access treatment.
STD testing in the county has gone up 29% since September 2015 through the AHP in collaboration with private donors. Dr. Pour reported that 98% of STD treatment results were attributed to the effective enactment of extended services by the project despite the increase in testing.
More Still needs to be Done
Even with the impressive results from increased STD testing, more still needs to be done in order to have an impact on the level of STDs and teenage pregnancies. This provides the basis for AHP to further advocate for sex education in schools.
This includes giving medically precise information that is age-appropriate for the group. The combination of knowledge on the topic and services and skills will help lower the rates of STDs and create the next generation of healthy citizens for the benefit of the country.
The education that is being talked about here should involve all-round sex education that gives all options for the prevention of STDs and pregnancies without leaving out abstinence and the correct use of condoms as well as contraceptives.
Educating the youths involves including the parents in the process. According to research, nine out of ten teenagers say they are less likely to engage in sex and consequently avoid STDs and pregnancies only if they can have open and honest conversations about them with their parents. It is then a call to parents to make sure they have the sex talk with their children as embarrassing as it may seem to be for some.
In addition to the parents, after-school programs, mentoring programs and community-based organizations that educate the youth also have a vital role to play in the fight against STDs and unwanted teenage pregnancies.
Finally, while some people may argue that ignorance is bliss, the same cannot be applied when it comes to your health. Young people need to be given the correct information on everything about the STDs including their consequences for them to make informed choices that ultimately shape their lives.