Since Antioch is considered a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland it is not surprising that it has a high STD rate even with its minimal population, but health officials admit that they did not expect the rates to be so high. In the last twenty years the number of sexually transmitted infections has been steadily rising in the East Bay area, and this includes the neighborhood of Antioch.
It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections that are rising, but the number of residents who test positive for primary and secondary Syphilis are also starting to increase in frequency. On a positive note Hepatitis B and C diagnoses are rapidly decreasing, thanks in part to new medications and social awareness about the disease. HIV/AIDS diagnoses are also decreasing, and are at an all-time low in women.
Unfortunately the same is not true for Chlamydia, which is still the most commonly contracted sexually transmitted disease in young women. It is more than twice as likely to affect African American women, and the same is also true for Gonorrhea. African American men between the ages of 20 to 24 are seeing an increase in the number of Gonorrhea incidents reported each year. Some of the other statistics released by the CDC that indicate STDs are a growing problem in the neighborhood include,
- After dropping sharply in 2009, Gonorrhea incidents in men have more than doubled in the past five years.
- While still below state averages the number of men diagnosed with Syphilis in the county has double in the 10 year period from 2005 to 2014.
- African American men are among those with the greatest risk of contracting Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis.
In response to the growing number of people that test positive each year for STDs the state has recently made sexual education classes mandatory in all public schools. This is good news for health officials that have been stressing the importance of informing the public about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, and they are also hopeful this will help them get a handle on the growing number of teens who dropout or graduate pregnant.
Studies have shown that areas with comprehensive sex education programs do have a lower rate of infection, and teen pregnancies. This also applies to the Herpes virus which is often present in high schools. The studies indicate that when students have the information they need to protect themselves they are less likely to contract an STD. Pregnancy rates also dramatically drop, and contrary to some beliefs these programs do not encourage teens to start having sex.
The classes simply ensure that students have the information they need to stay safe, regardless of their sexual activity. This includes being informed about the importance of regular Herpes testing in Antioch. It also covers regular HIV testing in Antioch, which is also being credited with helping to lower the rate of infection.
Even though Antioch is considered a part of San Francisco it does not have a high number of tourists, and this also applies to its close proximity to Oakland. The working class neighborhood does have a mixed demographical makeup, which is affecting the area’s STD rates.
The large percent of Hispanic and African Americans accounts for some of the high rate of infections among these ethnicities, along with the fact that many are simply not aware of the dangers sexually transmitted diseases can present to them. A language barrier and mistrust of officials among Hispanic residents is making it difficult for health care workers to stress the importance of regular STD testing, along with the fact that many are here illegally and are afraid to visit a clinic.
A large percent of the African American population in the neighborhood simply can’t afford regular STD testing, and this also applies to Caucasians. Many are convinced that a sexually transmitted disease will never happen to them, especially those who routinely use protection during intercourse. While this does help prevent the spread of STDs contraceptives are not effective against all sexually transmitted infections, which is why it is important to get tested at least once or twice a year.
Other factors include the lack of health care facilities in the neighborhood, which can make it difficult for residents to get tested. The few clinics that are located conveniently close by are often understaffed due to budget cuts, and this typically results in long lines and some residents finding that they have to wait for hours simply to have the simple test performed.
Surrounded by the bay and several region parks, there is plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers to enjoy. The neighborhood’s close proximity to San Francisco and Oakland also ensure that there is plenty to do. This also makes it easy for residents to forget to take care of their sexual health, and now it really will only take a few minutes of your time. Simply by calling you can schedule confidential STD testing and still have plenty of time left in the day to explore the fascinating area around Antioch.