North Carolina has reported some of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the state’s history, however, young people are still contracting STDs at a larger rate than previously seen. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, North Carolina have some of the highest rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the nation.
In September of this year, the CDC released its annual infectious disease reports which showed that STD rates were climbing throughout the U.S. North Carolina has seen the same level of increase as the rest of the country.
“The North Carolina picture mirrors the national picture pretty well,” said Erika Samoff, an epidemiologist from the state Department of Health and Human Services. “We’ve had increases in almost everything this year and over the past few years, and I think we’re experiencing (the) same thing as they’re seeing nationally: limited dollars on the front lines of the transmission of STDs are hampering our ability to respond.”
In 2016 there were many cases of STDs. 58,006 cases of chlamydia were reported in the state. 19,687 cases of gonorrhea were reported within the state. 2,653 cases of syphilis were reported showing a 36% increase from the previous year.
Local health officials has cited numerous factors in the increase in North Carolina. Aside from a lack of funding for sexual health awareness in the Health Department, there is also a lack of consistent sexual health education in schools. Growing diversity in the state’s population is also creating a cultural gap of awareness. “We’re trying to make sure our providers are culturally competent,” Samoff said. “So people aren’t pushed away from care because providers are looking down on them or treating them badly.”
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to an STD, you should seek medical care right away. Many times, a person will show no obvious signs or symptoms of infection but can still transmit an STD to their partner. STD testing can be the best way to know the current status of your sexual health. There are many options for STD testing in North Carolina.