A new study ranks Gainesville just at the cusp of the top 50 cities in the country for cases of sexually transmitted diseases.
The study from Innerbody.com ranks Gainesville 51st in the country for STDs per 100,000 people. Conducted with data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census, the study also showed Gainesville as having 1,057 cases reported per 100,000 people.
Cecilia Luna, the marketing and communications coordinator for UF’s Health Care Center, said there are no definitive answers in the medical community to explain the high rate of STDs.
“There’s a couple theories in the medical community,” Luna said. “It could be because more people are getting tested than they were before.”
The care center hasn’t seen a significant change in STD trends, she said. As of now, there’s still a steady rate of students getting tested regularly and using the “Get Yourself Tested” clinic in the Infirmary building.
Luna said the most common STDs she sees at UF are Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. The data collected on Gainesville shows similar results, with Chlamydia being the most prevalent STD.
UF’s Health Care Center offers prevention efforts on campus and works to inform students of the resources available to them, Luna said. Even students who are asymptomatic, or not showing any symptoms, can visit the clinic for a full panel screening provided through the Alachua County Health department.
“We think that [prevention efforts on campus] might help them feel more empowered to go and get tested and get treated,” Luna said.
Samantha Evans, a health promotion specialist at GatorWell, said that while they provide about 400 to 500 STD tests per year, they don’t have any data that currently reflects trends in the number of UF students getting tested.
Evans said her experience has shown that students are more likely to get tested when testing is free and information is confidential.
She wants UF students to know that while there are numerous sexual health resources out there, they should be sure to find sources that are credible and up to date. GatorWell’s Sexual Health page is regularly updated with a variety of reliable sources, she said.
“This can be a really taboo topic and people can feel uncomfortable,” Evans said, “Find a way that works for you to get those questions answered in a reliable way.”
Contact Sarah Mandile at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sarahmandile.