Delaware is one of those US states with the largest number of sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases. The centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that chlamydia and gonorrhea are the top two STDs in Delaware. As per the CDC's STD surveillance data, Delaware has the 8th highest rate of chlamydia diagnoses across the state, and in gonorrhea, it ranks tenth. Moreover, the state has the 24th highest rate of primary and syphilis (P&S) cases. In 2016, the state reported 5,365 chlamydia cases, 58 syphilis, and 1,702 gonorrhea cases altogether.
People aren't generally aware of their sexual health status, so when they develop an STD, they cannot detect it. That's because STDs tend to be asymptomatic, and initially, there aren't many symptoms. This is noted explicitly among women as they cannot identify any difference until the situation gets worse. That's why medical experts encourage all sexually active individuals, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or age, to get tested even if they think nothing is wrong.
In Delaware, the number of STD cases is increasing steadily, and one of the reasons is that protection is not being used. Sexually active people now refrain from using condoms due to many advanced contraception measures available, which increases the risk of STI (sexually transmitted infection) transmission. However, it is worth noting that STDs are preventable if you are aware of safe sex practices and get yourself tested regularly. Screening once a year is a great way to stop the spread and rise of STDs.
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The STD situation in Delaware is erratic. While the state, on the whole, boasts high rates of common STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, when it comes to other STDs such as syphilis and hepatitis B, Delaware has some of the lowest rates. The most concerning aspect about Delaware STD rates is that regardless of the disease, the cases of most STIs are showing an upward trend statewide. In fact, that's the scenario in the entire country where the rates of STDs are increasing for the past four years, specifically for gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia.
Reportedly, the population-adjusted rate of chlamydia cases in Delaware was 566.3/100,000 people in 2016-17, putting the state at number 14 overall and recording a 7% higher rate than the national average. This rate is at least twice more than the 226 cases/100,000 people reported by West Virginia, the state with the lowest rate of chlamydial infections. In addition, Delaware's chlamydial infection rate has been on the rise since 2014. Compared to the year 2012 statistics, it was around 20% higher in 2014.
The number of gonorrhea cases reported around the same time was 187/100,000 population. This rate was roughly 10% higher than the overall national average between 2016-17, and the state was ranked at no. 14 in the highest gonorrhea infections rate list of the 50 US states. It is nearly five times higher than the rate of gonorrhea cases in Vermont, which was 32.5/100,000 people making it the bottommost state in gonorrhea in the USA. Like chlamydia, the gonorrhea rate has also increased in Delaware since 2012 and has nearly doubled by now.
In Delaware, the rate of syphilis infection is fairly low, with 6 cases/100,000 people in 2016, putting it at number 29 in the national list of highest syphilis rates. Delaware's rate of syphilis cases is one-third lower than the national rate and seven times higher than Wyoming's rate with 0.7/100,000 people. Wyoming has the nation's lowest rate of syphilis in the country. Although a drop was observed in syphilis cases in the state, compared to 2012 statistics, it has increased by nearly 50%.
Despite reporting a decline in the number of gonorrhea cases over the past two years, the state's rate of chlamydia infections has increased nevertheless. In 1998, there were 2,608 chlamydia cases diagnosed statewide, while by 2011, the number increased to 4,508. Surprisingly, females accounted for most of the cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2011.
Moreover, people aged 18-29 were more involved in social media use; as per the latest survey by the Pew Research Center, around 86% of overall social media use was attributed to this age group, and that's the same group responsible for reporting the highest number of STDs cases. This situation is not just observed in Delaware, but the nationwide trend is also quite similar. In Delaware, around 68% of all chlamydia cases are diagnosed in adolescents and youth between 15 and 24.
Regarding gonorrhea, around 67% of all diagnosed cases in Delaware were diagnosed in 15-29-year olds. This indicates an alarming new trend that STIs and STDs are dramatically increasing among Delaware teens, specifically those between 14 and 17. Young adults tend to be more sexually active in Delaware than teens in other states, making up around 25% of its sexually active population. In the US, people between 15-24 age groups account for around 20 million newly diagnosed STIs, claims the CDC.
In 2015, the rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea among women was higher than men, reported CDC. People aged 11-15 reported 38 chlamydia cases and seven gonorrhea cases, those aged 15-19 reported 996 chlamydia and 134 gonorrhea cases, females between 20-24 reported 1,233 chlamydia cases and 212 gonorrhea cases, women between age 25-29 reportedly had 489 of all chlamydia cases and 149 of overall gonorrheal infections. Conversely, there were three congenital syphilis cases reported between 2011 and 2015.
In Delaware, STD data, which includes data on gonorrhea, chlamydia, and primary and secondary syphilis is reported to the Division of Public Health (DPH) by STD clinics, correctional facilities, private physician offices, laboratories, and outpatient facilities. In 2019, DPH planned to ramp up its STI diagnosis efforts and invested heavily in newborn baby screening services by outsourcing from a private firm.
According to state officials, through an increased focus on STDs, it will become possible to deal with the increasing number of cases, which has become a general trend due to the viruses growing resistance against antibiotics. The state overall performs around 40,000 venereal tests per year. Delaware's Sexually Transmitted Disease Program provides statewide management, training, and education to care providers for ensuring the prevention/treatment of STDs.
The Delaware Public Health Laboratory (DPHL) is augmenting its efforts to improve STDs testing methods and continually add new and advanced molecular methods. Therefore, the STIs section was predominantly improvised to include various tests under one section in January 2018. Previously, these were part of the Microbiology and Virology sections. However, due to an increase in testing volumes, these two sections were merged.
All physicians, laboratories, and health care providers in Delaware are required to report patients diagnosed with STDs to the Division of Public Health Sexually Transmitted Disease Program. This is a crucial aspect of offering an appropriate public follow-up to patients, identifying outbreaks, and understanding the STDs trends in Delaware.
Most people experience feelings of hesitation when going to get tested for STD, despite knowing they might have contracted one. EasySTD was created to change that.
Visit your nearest lab or clinic, order your home testing kit online, and follow the given instructions from an STD testing provider.
After ordering your STD test, visit the testing center to get tested or take a self sample including urine, cotton swab, or finger prick with the home testing kit and mail it back.
Receive the lab-certified results of your STD test from your test provider via mail or phone within 2 to 3 days. If the test comes positive, consult your doctor immediately.