Daniel Daltry, Vermont’s Department of Health program chief of the HIV/AIDS, STD and Viral Hepatitis Program, said the lack of funding could not come at the worst time.
2016 is the latest reported federal information about STDs, and it shows that over two million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia were reported to the CDC – the highest number of cases reported.
The administration has suggested the Title X program undergoes some funding changes. Title X offers grants to family planning, breast and cervical cancer screening and STD screening at 4,000 sites around the nation. While the program serves younger, lower-income women in most cases, many men are also using clinics’ services.
The money has never been used to fund for abortions. However, the president and many other Republicans have insisted they will cut federal funding to all organization like Planned Parenthood that offer abortions. If these new rules go into effect, Title X services would have to be financially distinct from the abortion services.
Daltry, along with other public health officials, feel the changes will make it harder for people to get tested for STDs.
National Coalition of STD Directors Executive Director David C. Harvey said most family planning clinics offer a range of services that include abortion and contraception referrals. He said if the changes go into effect, many of these programs may decide not to use the Title X funding. With less money from the federal government, the fewer resources these clinics will have to take for STDs.
According to the 2016 data, half of the new STD cases were in young adults – 15 through 24. One in four teenage sexually active girls were exposed to an STD even without obvious symptoms.
Many STDs can be cured with antibiotics, and not getting treated could lead to a range of long-term health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, making it harder for a woman to become pregnant.
Surveys show that even when young people have their parent’s insurance coverage, they tend to not to use for fear that their parents will find out about the STD testing. They usually opt for a Title X funded health clinic to receive the confidential services they need. The visit uses a sliding scale based on income.
Harvey said the number of state and local government-funded STD clinics has declined over the last 10 years, with states relying on providers like Planned Parenthood.
Trump administration advocates claim the plan new clinics could get Title X funding. The administration encouraged providers that stress the importance of fertility awareness techniques to apply for funding.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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Ashley, 59, was hospitalized for appendicitis, but never suspected she had HIV, and neither did her doctors. She said the doctors told her she had a virus and that was it. To her, it was unreal that she had the one virus that people were deathly afraid of.