Thursday, November 15, 2007

Isn't it great to live in an 'above-average' state?

Of course, as with mortgage foreclosures, violent crime rate and auto theft rate, perhaps being 'above average' isn't a good thing. :)

From the Phoenix Business Journal -
Arizona ranks above national average in STD cases

Arizona ranks 11th among states for having the highest rate of chlamydia cases and 13th for syphilis, according to a new federal report on sexually transmitted diseases.

The article goes on to cite specific numbers -

24,000 cases of chlamydia statewide or 406 per 100,000 population

3.6 cases of syphilis per 100,000, above the national average of 3.3/100,000

100 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000, which is actually below the national average of 121/100,000. However, the article note that actual number of cases "went from 3,800 in 2002 to just under 6,000 in 2006."

That's a roughly 50% rise in the number of cases. A below average infection rate may be a good thing, but the rising trend of actual infections is most assuredly not.

The transcript of the CDC's telebriefing on the STD report is here; its fact sheet is here; the entire 2006 report can be found here; reports from previous years can be found here.

Loathe though I am to make this a partisan issue (because it sure as hell shouldn't be one), I'm sure that a certain segment of the population - for the sake of brevity, let's call them "Republicans" - will blame undocumented immigrants, taxes, or government regulation (or some combination thereof) for increases in STD infection rates, they will be doing the country, the state, themselves, and more significantly, their children, a disservice.

Among the trends noted by the report is that while people aged 15 -24 represent 25% of the sexually active population, nationally that group acquires half of new STD infections.

Those that bemoan the influence of immigrants, taxes or regulations might want to consider the possibility that their dedication to barring sexually active adolescents from access to STD information and education is one of the real root causes of the increase in disease exposure.

Throughout history, ignorance. forced or otherwise, usually has been the culprit behind such increases.

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