Tallahassee Democrat (08.15.12)
In Leon County, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis cases are occurring at a rate that is almost triple the state average. Furthermore, the county’s rates for these STDs have consistently eclipsed state averages for the past three years. Leon County’s rates for HIV/AIDS are more in line with state averages.
The county’s rate of new STD cases in 2010 was 1,392 per 100,000 people, whereas the state rate was 507. Cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia are higher among those ages 13-25, according to a county report. Amy Magnuson, the Health Promotion Director for University Health Services at Florida State University (FSU), said 15- to 24-year-olds make up 25 percent of the sexually active population, but account for 50 percent of all STDs. Almost 500 new gonorrhea infections were seen per 100,000 people ages 25-29, compared to just over 200 per 100,000 people ages 30-39.
“Most of the young people we speak to know about the possibility of STDs,” said Dr. Ed Forster, with the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s Family Residency Program. “Maybe modern medicine and being able to treat these things so well is what makes them more relaxed.”
With its two universities and a community college, Tallahassee has a dense population of sexually active students, especially during “party times” like spring break, according to FSU Health Services Director Celeste Piquette. Various resources for STD education are available, but she added, “The burden lies in teaching the risks before students become sexually active. There’s only so much we can do. The burden lies on the parents.”