In 2011, youth age 15-19 years of age accounted for 34% of Indiana’s reported cases of Chlamydia and 27% of the state’s reported cases of gonorrhea, according to Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) statistics presented to the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana. In 2011, there were a total (all age groups) of 27,801 Chlamydia cases in Indiana, and 6,569 cases of gonorrhea.
At the same meeting, Mike Dempsey from the Indiana Department of Correction, Division of Youth Services, called for increased services at detention centers to provide physical examinations and testing and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) and tuberculosis (TB). The Marion County Detention Center currently tests all detainees for STD’s, according to information presented to the Detention Center Advisory Committee (this blogger is a member). There are currently twenty-one detention centers serving children in ninety-two counties, and most do not provide this service.
Arguments for mandatory testing include:
- The lack of symptoms for some of the STD’s, which makes detection difficult without testing.
- The tests for Chlamydia and gonorrhea are done by urine test, and the ISDH can provide testing kits to certain entities reducing the costs.
- If everyone is tested, no individual children are singled out, which reduces the risk of ridicule and bullying.
- Access to health benefits can vary for children in poverty. In 2011, 22.6% of Indiana children age 0-17 years old were living in poverty. Kids Count in Indiana 2012 Data Book.