In 2015, there were 166 people living with HIV or AIDS in Butte County, with a prevalence rate of 86 per 100K people, well under California’s rate of 376. But don’t get smug yet, Chico. Health officials are worried about the bacterial STDs.
In 2017, 1,210 people in Butte County were diagnosed with chlamydia, at a rate of 534.3. The gonorrhea and (primary and secondary) syphilis rates were 135.6 and 26.1.
In a survey, an alarming number of the local college students said they rarely practiced safe sex. Health officials point to this type of behavior to explain the rise in STD rates. Another culprit is the prevalence of “hook-up apps” that result in people having sex with people they’ve met online and don’t know very well.
Also, young people don’t understand that most STIs are asymptomatic. Because they aren’t experiencing symptoms, they don’t get tested right away, and more people catch the disease from them.
The Chico Clinic of the Butte County Public Health Department, located on Oleander Ave, provides STI testing, as does Planned Parenthood, on Cohasset Rd. The Women’s Health Specialists on Humboldt Rd offer confidential STI testing for all genders.
Also, keep an eye on local events to see if there are any free STD testing events coming up, especially around STD Awareness Month or back to school.