Wisconsin recurrently features among the states with the bottommost prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. This trend essentially tracks with the growing national STDs rates. However, the state’s low rates of common STDs are at risk of being undone because of the recent spike in chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis cases.
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.
Getting tested for STDs should be a vital aspect of your sexual health maintenance. Chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea are mostly asymptomatic diseases. This means you may not feel any symptoms while being infected and can transmit it to other individuals.
If left untreated, these infections can cause infertility issues, particularly in females. The three common STDs mentioned above can drastically increase your chances of contracting another deadly infection, HIV.
There’s nothing to worry about STDs testing as generally, the tests are performed quickly, and you only have to provide a swab in the mouth or urine sample. The tests are non-invasive and don’t require any needles. Hence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is necessary for every sexually active person, whether male or female, heterosexual or bisexual and members of the LGBT community to get themselves screened for common STDs annually. There’s an extensive network of STD testing clinics in Wisconsin, including private and public facilities, where you can easily get tested.
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The Wisconsin STD Program is the state’s primary initiative for managing statewide public health response to prevent and control sexually transmitted diseases. The program also administers the operations of public STD clinics in the state.
In Wisconsin, STDs testing clinics are monitored for offering expedited partner therapy, free or low-cost testing and treatment options, and allow an individual’s sex partner to be tested together and get notified about their health status at the same time. Furthermore, the state’s program offers free condoms as well as some forms of birth control. The state also collaborates with Partner Services to extensively aid people in dealing with STDs, offer them guidance, and even notify the infected individual’s sex partner to get tested and check their sexual health status.
The Wisconsin STD Control Section is responsible for coordinating with Partner Services, most of which are provided by local health departments. As per the local law, certain STDs must be reported to the local health authorities or to the Division of Public Health/DPH. Moreover, Wisconsin’s law also requires local health departments and DPH to follow up on reportable STDs. Anyone who tests positive for STDs that the state has declared as reportable will receive free-of-cost partner services.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is funded by the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health under a cooperative agreement. The DPI uses the funds to help and support schools and districts in delivering exemplary sexual health education with sufficient emphasis on HIV and other STD prevention strategies. Moreover, the department strives to increase adolescent access to key sexual health services as well as ensures students and staff live in safe and supportive environments.
Wisconsin’s rate of STDs is fairly low compared to the overall national rates. For instance, the state’s chlamydia cases relative to its population size puts Wisconsin in the lower half of the country regarding chlamydia prevalence. Reportedly, the state’s chlamydia cases rate is 8% lower than the overall national rate. Though Wisconsin ranks 30th among all the 50 states after population-adjusted rates of chlamydia, it has steadily observed a spike in chlamydia since 2014. Between 2007 and 2017, the state’s chlamydia rates have increased by over 30%. In 2007, the total number of chlamydia cases in Wisconsin was 354/100,000 people. In 2008, the rate jumped slightly to 368. By 2015, it had crossed 425. In 2016, the state reported 470 cases, and in 2017 it reached 485/100,000 people.
Wisconsin ranked 33rd in the country for its population-adjusted gonorrhea rate in 2018-2019, with a rate that’s around 20% lower than the overall national gonorrhea rates. However, gonorrhea has become slightly more prevalent in the state as the number of cases has risen every year since 2014. In 2014, the state reported 72 cases per 100,000 people. This number increased to 93 in 2015. In 2016, it crossed 115, and in 2017 the total number of gonorrhea cases was 135/100,000 population.
Regarding syphilis, the state has the 5th-lowest population-adjusted infection rate in the country. In fact, its rate is about a third of the overall U.S. level. Despite that, the rate of primary/secondary syphilis remained relatively low before 2014.
Since 2016, the rates have almost doubled. In 2012, the state reported 1.6 cases/100,000 people, the following year, the state had 1.8 primary/secondary syphilis cases, in 2014 and 2015, the state reported 1.5 cases, but in 2016, this number suddenly increased to 2.4 cases/100,000 people and in 2017, around 3 cases were reported in the state. Still, in all midwestern states, Wisconsin reported the second-lowest rate of primary/secondary syphilis.
In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee metro area accounts for the largest chunk of reportable STDs cases and ranks higher among all U.S. cities affected with different STDs. Regarding chlamydia, Milwaukee accounted for one-third of all cases in 2017. The area had the 4th highest chlamydia rate of any central metro area in the country with 1,148 cases/100,000 people, followed by the Menominee area with 1.006 cases.
Over sixty percent of Wisconsin’s gonorrhea cases were diagnosed among people living in the Milwaukee area. In contrast, the greater Milwaukee area reported the 2nd highest gonorrhea rate in all major US metro areas. Furthermore, over half of all syphilis cases in the state were diagnosed among Milwaukee residents.
In Wisconsin, there has been a 44% increase in syphilis cases, 37% increment in gonorrheal infection rates, and a 12% increase in chlamydia cases over the past five years, stated executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, David Harvey.
As per the 2017 STD surveillance data shared by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, females accounted for the most number of cases in Wisconsin during 2017 compared to males with 63% and 37% of all reported STD cases, respectively. Males, conversely, accounted for the highest number of syphilis cases, with more than 80% of all cases in 2017, while females reported 68% of all chlamydia cases in Wisconsin. The scenario wasn’t as varied regarding gonorrheal infection rate as females accounted for 48% of all cases while males reported 52% of all reported gonorrhea cases.
The worst affected age group for all STDs in Wisconsin during 2017 was the 20-24-year-olds with 36% of all reported cases across the state (3,250 cases), followed by 15-19 age group with 26% of all cases (2,299), and the 25-29 age group reported 19% of all cases (1,735).
As far as ethnic minorities are concerned, whites reported the highest STD morbidity rate with 39.6% and 14,055 cases, African-Americans’ morbidity rate was 32.2% with 11,417, and Asian/Pacific Islanders reported 1.4% of all STD-related morbidity rates with 486 cases.
In total, the state reported 35,470 STDs cases in 2017. African-Americans were the most at-risk population group regarding reportable STDs with 3,143 cases, followed by American Indians with 728 cases, and Asian Pacific Islanders were the third most impacted group with over 390 cases in 2017.