Georgetown students are often accused of being trapped inside the “Georgetown Bubble,” isolating them from the concerns of the greater Washington, D.C. area, especially ones that have an impact on our personal safety.
A recent report by the online pharmacy website Superdrug Online Doctor has highlighted one concern we cannot afford to ignore: increasing rates of sexually transmitted disease in D.C.
The report, which aggregates data found in the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Drug Prevention databases, as well as a 2012 report from the D.C. Department of Health, presents a troubling diagnosis — D.C. is afflicted with higher rates of STDs than any state in the country.
Though D.C. is an almost entirely urban environment, unlike the states with which it is compared, D.C. is in the top five for all but two of the six major STDs, and is number one on the list for three of them.
This is not an issue that we can avoid within the Georgetown bubble. This is an issue that impacts all in the area, and it must be dealt with in all communities and neighborhoods in D.C.
Given these disturbing findings, there are several important considerations that Georgetown students must make.
First, we must remember that unlike the states that it is compared with, which feature a mixture of rural, suburban and urban elements, D.C. is an almost entirely urban environment.
From D.C. residents who remain in close contact with each other in apartment buildings and workplaces to students who do the same in classrooms and residence halls, the fact that D.C. was found to have higher STD rates than than states like North Carolina or Oregon is unsurprising, but nevertheless warrants every students’ attention even on campus.
There are already several useful resources like the recent Stall Seat Journal issue about the spread of STDs and the sexual health information page on the university’s website. We urge students not only to familiarize themselves with these resources but to heed their advice as well.
It is also reassuring to note that D.C. has taken steps to implement educational campaigns to lower STD rates.
So far, the programs seem to be working: There has been a significant decline in the rate of HIV/AIDS, and screening methods have improved, making it much easier to spot the disease than it has been in the past.
Georgetown students should arm themselves with the knowledge of D.C.’s STD prevalence. These statistics consider D.C.’s metropolitan areas but should move students to be more careful in order to prevent these numbers from growing worse.