Young people in Georgia are seeing a significantly higher number of STD cases. Over a period of the last 6 years, more than half of all chlamydia cases have been reported in young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Some health officials are blaming dating apps for the increase. Many others, however, are blaming a lack of sexual health education for the surge in infections among the state’s young people.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report about the current requirements of sexual health education in the state of Georgia. This report found that over two-thirds of schools in the state failed to teach all required sexual health topics. Georgia law dictates that sexual health and HIV-related education emphasize abstinence until marriage. It does not preclude providing students with comprehensive knowledge and skills for avoiding sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Local school systems decide how and what information to share.
The rather ambiguous requirements of the state legislature, in regards to sexual health education, has many school districts confused about what topics they must teach and what topics they can avoid. This has led to an uneven level of sexual health curriculum throughout the state. As a result, some regions of the state are seeing higher numbers of STD cases than others.
The Georgia Department of Public Health has begun a large focus on education and awareness. The health department’s mission to help stamp down the problem of spreading diseases is largely based in education, but another is ensuring that when people come in for family planning discussions, they also get tested.
According to the CDC, Georgia ranks fourth in the nation for syphilis, ninth for chlamydia and thirteenth for teen pregnancy. This shows a continued need for sexual health education reform throughout the state, yet schools are resistant. While the state health department continues its campaigns to increase educational materials, STD case rates in the state continue to rise.
If you believe that you may have been exposed to an STD, you should consider having STD testing performed. There are many convenient and affordable options for STD testing in Georgia and other states. Since symptoms of an infection are not always apparent, having testing performed can often be the only way to detect an STD.