It has become impossible for health officials to ignore the growing number of sexually transmitted diseases that are reported annually in the city and surrounding county. For the last twenty years the rate of infection has been steadily rising, according to statistics released by the L.A. County Department of Health and the CDC, and these numbers show no sign of decreasing any time soon.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are rising in teens and young adults, and statistics also show that both men and women are risk for contracting one or both of these venereal diseases. The number of students that contract the Herpes virus is also rising, along with those that test positive for HVP.
The statistics also show that it is not just teens and young adults that are testing positive more often, older residents are finding that they too are at risk. Men over the age of 25 in particular seem to test positive for some STDs more frequently than other age groups. This is particularly true regarding infectious Syphilis and HIV, which is more prevalent in older men than other demographics.
This alone is enough to cause alarm, since health officials mistakenly believed that these infectious diseases were well under control. Some of the statistics that highlight the importance of regular STD testing include,
- Women ages 20 to 24 have the highest risk for contracting Chlamydia, according to 2014 statistics.
- Since 2005 the rates for primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses in men has been rising, and have more than doubled by 2014.
- In 2014 men were twice as likely to contract Gonorrhea as women, according to county health statistics.
In January of 2016 it became mandatory for all public school districts to include comprehensive and medically accurate sex education programs in their curriculum.
Starting in the 7th grade students will now start learning about sexually transmitted diseases and how these infections can be spread. By the time students graduate from high school that state’s goal is to ensure that they are well prepared to face the risks and dangers associated with being sexually active.
Not only will students learn that STDs can be transmitted through a variety of methods, they will also be taught how to protect themselves if they do decide to engage in sexual activity. The proper use of condoms will be covered in detail, not only in an effort to stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections but to also begin to lower the city’s high teen pregnancy rate. In cities where this has already been implemented, the number of teens that drop out due to pregnancy has already begun to decrease significantly.
Students will also be taught that regular HIV testing in Carson is critical for their continued good health, along with the fact that this is currently the only way to positively detect the virus. The important of regular Herpes testing in Carson will even be covered, and school officials are hopeful that this will begin to lower the rate of infection among students.
The rise in STD rates over the last twenty years is being blamed on several factors. Previously the main cause was lack of information, but thanks to the recent law that now makes it mandatory of all public school districts to include comprehensive sex education classes in its curriculum this is no longer a contributing factor.
The growing popularity in online dating apps is making it easier for adults and teens to meet and “hook up”. With online dating sites catering to individuals looking for a “one night stand”, it is not hard to see how this could be causing the STD rates to rise in the city.
Illicit drug use is increasing, but not in teens. It is older adults that are often engaging in this risky behavior which dramatically increases their chances for contracting a sexually transmitted disease. The growing number of adults that use and share needles is also being blamed for the sudden resurgence in primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses.
What is really causing the infectious disease rates to rise is the simple fact that most residents do not feel that regular STI testing is important for their health. Many do not even realize that their behavior could already be putting them at risk, and it is not uncommon for adults to simply feel like they do not need to waste their time and money on a STD test. As long as this continues the city and county can continue to expect to see high STD rates.
Before you head into downtown LA for some shopping and sightseeing it is important to take a few minutes and visit one of the nearby STI clinics. Even if you don’t believe that your behavior has put you at risk, it is still important to get tested on a regular basis. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day waiting in a crowded community testing center, and now there is an easier way for you to take care of your sexual health. You can schedule confidential STD testing with one quick phone call, and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab instead of hours at one of the local clinics.