WUFT News

‘Girl, I Don’t Know What Happened Last Night,’ Or Why Alachua County’s STD Rate Is High

By on October 15th, 2013


Alachua County is ranked fourth highest in the state for STDs with 8,452 reported cases since 2008, according to the Florida Department of Health.

During the past five years, 75 percent of new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Alachua County were reported among people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Bobby Davis, HIV and AIDs coordinator for the Alachua County Department of Health, said being in an area with such a large amount of young people and a major university is only part of the problem for Alachua County.

“It’s the prime sexually active reproductive years. That’s when people look the best, that’s when they have their sex,” he said.

Davis said the dangers of STDs are real and compared them to cigarette smoking and driving without a seat belt.

When an STD infection does happen, he added, some people don’t even know.

“A lot of the sexually transmitted diseases don’t have symptoms so they don’t think they’re infected,” Davis said.

He said there are many reasons why a high school student, in particular, might be hesitant to get tested for STDs, such as social stigma, transportation or parents finding out their kids are sexually active.

The health department is working closely with the Alachua County school system on a number of projects to inform people about these diseases, Davis said. One program is the Peer Advocates for Unified Services in Education, or PAUSE.

PAUSE trains peer advocates to provide current information and community resources about issues such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and other health topics.

“We do know that some teenagers — most teenagers — get their health information from their peers,” Davis said, “so they’ll go to them and say, ‘Girl, I don’t know what happened last night, we ended up having sex, I think I might have an STD, where do I go?'”

He said these advocates are trained to advise friends to head down to the health department.

The Job Corps of Gainesville now implements monthly STD training, and Unity Temple in Williston is teaching abstinence and comprehensive education at Eastside and Lincoln High School.

There are also presentations at University of Florida dorms and throughout the community.

Catherine Seemann, communications coordinator at UF’s Student Health Care Center, encourages young people to seek out all available resources.

“It may be awkward, it may be weird, it might even be offensive for you on a face level, but really everything that our medical providers are asking and doing ultimately is to help you,” Seemann said.

Alachua County STD Consultation group will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Alachua County Health Department.


This entry was posted in Health and Science. Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

Jeannine Cawthon, a Gainesville native, paints the body of a PET cart on Thursday morning.

Cart Program Gives Rural Disabled New Opportunities

A volunteer workshop outside Jacksonville produces carts for disabled members of rural communities overseas. Designed for those with little to no use of their legs, the carts are propelled by hand-powered handles.


Dr. Ellen Zimmerman, 58, is a gastro neurologist at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida and a professor at the UF College of Medicine.  In her opinion, not the opinion of the university, medical marijuana has quite a few risk factors for patients with Crohn’s Disease, giving rise to her vote of “no” on the failed Amendment 2.

Crohn’s Disease Patient Still Looking For Answers After Amendment 2 Fails

Amendment 2 failed in Florida by a narrow margin, resulting in outrage from the bill’s supporters. A student who suffers from Crohn’s disease gives his perspective on the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the wake of continued debate.


The Alachua County Fire Rescue upgraded  the wireless routers in its ambulances. The ACFR received a grant of $41,200 from both UF Health Shands Hospital and North Florida Regional Medical Center to afford the update.

Alachua Fire Rescue Upgrades Ambulance Routers for Enhanced Patient Care

With help from area hospitals, Alachua County Fire Rescue has upgraded the wireless routers inside their ambulances, which transmit patient information to the hospital prior to their arrival.


CDC Creates Stricter Guidelines For Treatment Of Ebola Patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created stricter guidelines for the treatment of Ebola patients. The new guidelines address training and hands-on experience, preventing skin exposure, and strict observation of putting on and taking off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Hydrocodone has been moved to a stricter schedule II drug from a schedule III, making it more difficult to obtain for prescribed patients.

Hydrocodone Now More Difficult to Obtain for Prescribed Users

The Drug Enforcement Agency is tightening restrictions on oxycodone, making it more difficult for prescribed patients to obtain refills for their prescriptions.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments