The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that five cities in Georgia are among the top 100 list of highest rates in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) per 100,000 people in America. Augusta was ranked 6th with 1 675 cases, Columbus came 15th with 1,440 cases, Macon ranked 23rd with 1,353 cases, Savannah was 34th with 1,181 cases, and Atlanta was at No. 43 with 1,105 cases in 2018.
CDC states that Georgia is among the high-risk states in America because of the steadily increasing STD cases. The Georgia Department of Public Health revealed that between 2014-2018, there has been a 14.3% increase in overall STDs rates. Between 2014 and 2018, the state recorded a 14.3% increase in its overall STD rates, the highest being among young people aged 14-24 and females.
According to the CDC, in 2018 alone, more than 2.4 million STD cases were reported throughout the USA. Since most STDs are asymptomatic, which means many diseases don't have any obvious symptoms, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, that's why people never get to identify that they are infected. Infections like syphilis or HIV may be active within your body for a long time before their symptoms become apparent.
In Georgia, STDs have disproportionately affected the population, and most cases of chronic STDs like syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea go undiagnosed every year. Underreporting of STD cases has contributed greatly to increasing the rates of STDs transmission across the state. Data on some STDs like herpes simplex virus or human papillomavirus are not even reported to the CDC regularly. Resultantly, nationwide surveillance data fails to capture the true figure of the country's STD pandemic.
Therefore, sexually active individuals must get tested for STDs. Testing should be considered one of the most important parts of your health care routine because it is vital for ensuring better sexual health. If you get tested at the right time, the chances of getting the proper treatment and enjoying an improved quality of life will be enhanced. Many STDs can be cured with antibiotics, especially chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. However, if not diagnosed and treated at the right time, these diseases can put not only males and females but infants at risk of various lifelong health conditions like reproductive health issues, chronic pain, HIV, etc.
In Georgia, the CDC supports the state health department through regular funding to offer science-based STDs control and prevention services. The state and CDC collectively perform research and development to provide scalable, sustainable, high impact, and cost-effective plans to reduce STDs.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DOPH) has integrated its STD and HIV programs and aims to decrease the demarcation existing between STD and HIV care. For instance, in Georgia, only HIV specimens are couriered to laboratories, and STD specimens are left behind.
Since the data related to HIV and STD cases remains segregated, it becomes difficult for the state health department to identify patients infected with both HIV and STD. To address this issue, the health department has added linkage to care to STDs' database and cross-matches the STD and HIV databases. Since the department doesn't have the necessary infrastructure to check every case, it mainly focuses on increasing awareness among the general public.
The DOPH offers confidential and free-of-charge HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing for chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and gonorrhea in collaboration with Student Health Promotion, DeKalb, and Futon County Health Departments.
Note: Please rotate your device for the best experience.
|Flowery Branch||Folkston||Forest Park||Forsyth|
|Fort Gaines||Fort Valley||Franklin||Gainesville|
|Palmetto||Peachtree City||Peachtree Corners||Pearson|
|Stockbridge||Stone Mountain||Sugar Hill||Summerville|
|Vienna||Villa Rica||Warm Springs||Warner Robins|
The Georgia Department of Public Health reports that the state is ranked among the top ten highly affected states in the US when it comes to STDs. Middle Georgia has registered the highest STD rates as there were around 1,310 gonorrhea cases, 3,863 chlamydia cases, and 42 syphilis cases apart from over 2,000 cases of HIV.
The state ranks fourth in the country for both primary and secondary syphilis cases and is ranked tenth for congenital syphilis cases, as per the year 2017 data. It is at number 6 for chlamydia with 65,104 diagnoses (623 cases/100,000 people). Georgia's chlamydia infection rate is approx. 18% higher than the overall national rate, while in 2013, the state recorded a 34% rise in the number of chlamydia cases. The rate of gonorrhea infection in Georgia is about 25% higher than the national average with 217 cases/100,000 population (22,667 diagnoses), and its primary and secondary syphilis rate is 50% above the national level (1,489 primary and secondary stage cases). In fact, primary and secondary syphilis cases have been rising steadily since 2010, and since 2001 the state's syphilis rate has more than doubled.
Atlanta metro area is most affected by chlamydia than any other region in Georgia. Over one in two gonorrhea cases in 2017 occurred in this region, and around all primary and secondary syphilis cases that year were reported in the Atlanta metro area.
Primary and secondary syphilis and congenital syphilis have remained a serious health concern primarily among men who have sex with men (MSM) and pregnant females, reported CDC. In 2011, the rate of primary/secondary syphilis in Georgia was around 6.5/100,000 population and rose to 14/100,000 people by 2015. Georgian females are most affected by chlamydia. Between 2011 and 2015, the state recorded a nearly 2.2 times increase in chlamydia cases among females as the cases increased from 349 to 779 per 100,000 people.
Furthermore, STD and teen pregnancy rates are higher among Georgian youth in comparison to the national average. In 2013, the rate of pregnancies among females between ages 15-19 in Georgia was 30.5/1000 women, while the national average was 26 pregnancies/1000 women. The state's teen pregnancy rate is 12th highest in the country.
Similarly, the state has recorded higher STI rates among young people than the rest of the US youth. In 2014, Georgia's rank was 8th in the country regarding the number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases among people between 15 and 24, with an infection rate of over 2500 cases and 552 cases respectively per100,000 people. It is even more concerning that Georgia ranked 2nd in the country for primary and secondary syphilis cases among people aged between 15-24 with 24.3 cases/100,000.
LGBTQ youth in the state is also at an increased risk of STIs and HIV, as this group isn't protected from marginalization. In 2010, just 30 percent of school districts had implemented LGBTQ-related bullying prevention policies. This makes Georgia's LGBTQ youth more vulnerable to substance abuse, depression, and sexual behaviors that may expose them to STDs and HIV.
Regarding senior adults (aged 55 or above), Georgia happens to be among the US's high-risk states due to the growth in STD cases among the elderly. According to CDC and TheSeniorList.com's recent study, the state has recorded a staggering 131% increase in STD cases among senior citizens between 2008 and 2017, with a 68% increase in gonorrhea cases, 152% rise in syphilis, and 108.9% rise in chlamydia cases.
Sexual health education or sex-ed is crucial to curtailing the prevailing STD crisis in Georgia. Georgia needs to develop culturally sensitive as well as evidence-based sex-ed programs. Many Georgians, including teachers, aren't sufficiently equipped to make informed decisions about STDs/STIs risk. Georgia is home to the CDC, and therefore, the state is in a unique position to devise and implement evidence-based sex-ed interventions.
The state of Georgia, although mandates that sex-ed and HIV education should be provided in schools, the state law doesn't require the curriculum to be age appropriate, medically accurate, unbiased, and culturally relevant. Moreover, Georgia allows the promotion of religion through sex education and makes it necessary for teachers to emphasize abstinence until marriage. Ironically, just 34% of Georgian schools taught students about the importance of using condoms in 2014, and only 14% informed students on how to use a condom.
In the fiscal year 2014, local Georgian entities and the state government received $2,682 391 in abstinence education funds. The funds were released for the Competitive Abstinence Education Program and the Title V State Abstinence Education Program. Under this program, programs receiving funds use inappropriate practices to create awareness among students, such as shame and fear-based tactics, such as comparing sexually active students with used chewing gum. It also promotes misleading information to students.
Comprehensive sexual health education is necessary, but it must offer accurate information about the use of condoms, abstinence, and contraception. If such a curriculum is developed in Georgia, teen pregnancy rates would surely come down. Students will be more aware of safe sex practices and would undergo STDs testing at the right time.
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.