In the USA, New Mexico ranks fourth in the number of chlamydia cases per 100,000 people (651.6), while the national average is 528. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) most recent statistics regarding the rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, indicate that STDs have been on the rise in the Southwestern state of New Mexico.
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.
STD and STI (sexually transmitted infection) are often used interchangeably, while both are not the same things. STD is a term used for the disease itself, whereas STI is the infection. The most at-risk age group for STD transmission is under 25 sexually active people. Therefore, it makes sense to get tested for STDs between the ages 13 and 25. But, this doesn't mean older adults do not require testing.
CDC recommends that everyone from 13-year-olds to 65-year-olds must make STDs testing a part of their routine health care. Those who practice safe sex or are in monogamous relationships do not need to get tested too often, though. Conversely, people who have unprotected sex should make it their priority to get tested, especially before getting intimate with a new partner.
It is a misconception that if there aren't any symptoms, there is no underlying disease. The truth is that most STDs do not show any physical symptoms, even for years. Sometimes, the disease may take ten years to show any signs, which often happens in the case of HIV. Similarly, up to 95% of females having chlamydial infection don't experience any sign or symptom of the disease. The average among males is 90%.
Hence, it is difficult to identify if you or your partner has an STD unless you choose to get tested. Unawareness about the importance of early testing is the primary cause behind the continuously rising cases of STDs and HIV. High-risk groups, which include men who have sex with men (MSM), those who have multiple sex partners, may develop gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and hepatitis C.
Baby boomers, which refers to people born between 1945 and 1965, are also at a higher risk of STDs and may develop liver disorders or cancer if they have an STD. The reason being that back in the time, there was no knowledge of the virus, and testing was not a part of anyone's health care routine.
Pregnant women are also among the high-risk groups. CDC recommends that all pregnant women should be tested for STDs, particularly syphilis, at their first prenatal visit. Any ignorance in this regard will cause serious, even life-threatening consequences for the unborn child, such as premature birth or death after birth.
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The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has taken various effective initiatives to respond to the rising rate of STDs. There's a dedicated Disease Prevention Team (DPT) in every region. The team's main task is to provide disease management and partner services to ensure timely treatment. New midlevel providers were recruited at all high-traffic Public Health Offices (PHO) to expand the state's healthcare infrastructure's diagnosis and treatment capacity for various stages of syphilis,
The New Mexico Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Prevention Program's main goal is to encourage a reduction in STDs and HIV incidences. Under this program, technical assistance and consultation are provided across the state. It also facilitates partner services, surveillance, screening, case management, health care provider education, and partner notification for the state's reportable STDs.
The Clinical Preventive Initiative (CPI) focuses on decreasing the burden of illness, increasing the chances of preventability of the condition, examining the quality and costs of services, and programmatic support.
In the past five years, New Mexico has seen an alarmingly high number of STDs cases. Between 2015 and 2016, there was a 61% increase in the number of syphilis cases, gonorrheal infection rate climbed 40%, which is the country's 14th highest rate, and chlamydia cases rose 4%, as per the NMDOH. In 2016, the state was at number 11 in the country with over 470 primary and secondary syphilis cases.
From 2016 to 2017, there was a 3.5% increase in the cases of chlamydia, which was the 4th highest rate for chlamydia infection in the country. During the same period, New Mexico observed a 28% increase in gonorrheal infection rates, which is less than the rates in 2015-16. But, the state ranked 10th in the country for most gonorrhea cases. Primary and secondary syphilis cases increased by 2.2% during 2016-2017. Around 60% of all reported chlamydia cases and 38% of all gonorrhea cases were among 15-24-year-old people.
Several factors are responsible for this steady rise in the number of new STD cases per year. Apart from cutbacks in funding for prevention programs to lackluster sexual health education efforts, and constantly rising usage of dating apps are some of the key contributing factors.
In 2017, almost 90% of all reported primary/secondary syphilis cases were among males, and among male syphilis patients, 85% were MSM, while the percentage of males who had sex with females was considerably low. From 2016 to 2017, gonorrhea rates increased for both males and females. The most surprising upward trend was observed among females as the rate for females aged between 20-24 with gonorrhea was around 33.5%, while the number of cases among males increased by 23%.
In New Mexico, there has been a 107.3% rise in the number of STD cases in older adults (aged 55 or above), with 63.5 cases per 100,000 population between 2014 and 2018. As far as the diseases are concerned, there was a 181% increase in chlamydia cases, 207% in syphilis, 146.2% in HIV, and 567.9% in gonorrhea cases.
The biggest leap in STD cases in New Mexico was observed between 2015 and 2016 when almost all age groups reported an unprecedented rise. However, people between ages 25 and 29 and 30-34 had the most cases. For women, the most at-risk age group was between 25 to 29, which was 37% higher than the previous years. For males, the increase was 51%.
In 2016, New Mexico reportedly had 167 gonorrhea cases per 100,000 people. The highest burden of disease was noticed in San Juan, Cibola, Curry, Bernalillo, and Roosevelt counties, whereas the lowest rate was in Doña Ana County with 117 cases/100,000 people. Nationally, there were over 490 chlamydia cases per 100,000 people in 2016. However, in New Mexico, the number was significantly higher for the same size population (629 cases).
Whether it is an STI or STD, both can have a dramatic adverse impact on the health of people of all ages. However, the rising number of cases among older Americans is a cause of great concern. That's because, at this age, people are most vulnerable to serious and deadly illnesses like cancer and heart disease.