Don’t be silly, wrap your willy. Especially now that Springfield is ranked as the 58th highest city in the nation with STD rates.
Innerbody collected data from the Center for Disease Control’s STD surveillance statistics to create a list with the top 100 cities in America with the highest STD rates.
Innerbody, an online medical and health testing resource for over 20 years, ranked the cities per capita, not by total STD rates. If they used total STD rates, the results would highly correlate with the population rankings, Managing Editor of Innerbody Eric Rodriguez said.
“We try to help customers or consumers make more informed testing choices when it comes to choosing what tests to order, specifically when they’re considering at-home tests,” Rodriguez said.
According to Rodriguez, the CDC does not make a “Top 100” list of its own because they don’t want to compare cities and states to others, they just want to raise awareness.
Innerbody’s study did not cover all STDs and STIs. It only used the four STDs the CDC had the most accurate statistics on.
Dr. Jerilyn Reed, student wellness coordinator at Bill and Lucille Magers Health and Wellness, said one of the reasons Springfield is higher on the list could be because the local Health Department will screen anyone who wants to be tested — not just residents of Springfield or Greene County.
Reed said there were 371 appointments for STIs at Magers in 2019.
She said to help stop the spread of STDs and STIs, there are a few things you can do.
“Do not engage in risky sexual behavior, if you are going to be sexually active, be sure to use a barrier method, like a condom,” Reed said. “Have good communication with your partners regarding sexual health issues and get regularly tested for STIs.”
Rodriguez said the CDC recommends anyone who is sexually active who has not been tested before should get tested immediately. After that, it’s once a year. For certain high-risk groups, twice a year or more is recommended.
“That is simply because several diseases are asymptomatic and some of the symptoms don’t develop until maybe two or three months after initial contact,” Rodriguez said.
He said getting tested is the most important part of the process because the earlier a person catches the virus, the earlier they can manage it.
“Most humans don’t want to spread these diseases and it’s impossible to protect your partner or anyone else if you don’t know you have it,” Rodriguez said.
Reed also agreed with Rodriguez. She said most STIs have no symptoms. The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.
Rodriguez said he believes people are not getting tested because they don’t feel comfortable talking about STDs.
“I do definitely think there are cultural issues surrounding where it seems to be that men feel particularly more uncomfortable talking about it,” Rodriguez said. “I would definitely recommend that men get tested more frequently, but there’s also quite a bit of women who are not getting tested frequently enough too. If you’re sexually active, you need to get tested at least once a year and these days it’s easier than ever.”
Innerbody advocates for at-home STD and STI testing. These kits can detect up to 14 different diseases all at once, according to Rodriguez.
Innerbody’s top two recommended brands are Let’s Get Checked and My Lab Box.
“Our criteria (for choosing testing kits) is we want to make sure that the labs that analyze the tests are the same labs that would analyze your sample, even if you went to a doctor or Planned Parenthood or something like that,” Rodriguez said.
Innerbody also conducted a companion study, where Missouri came in 10th for the highest STD rates.
Reed said Magers offers testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV/AIDS, herpes, HPV, hepatitis, trichomoniasis and mycoplasma genitalium.
She said all testing, and anything else done at Magers, is confidential. To get tested at the local clinic, schedule an appointment with a doctor regarding STIs and the doctor can write an order for lab work.
“Magers also offers education sessions throughout the semester to inform students on sexual health, proper barrier method use and prevention,” Reed said.
There will be Self Care for a Bear sessions focused on similar topics this semester, such as sexual health and condoms on Feb. 18 and STIs on April 28.
Other facilities that offer STD and STI testing in Greene County are the local Health Department, Aids Project of the Ozarks, Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, Planned Parenthood and local hospitals or clinics.