Over the last twenty years state and county officials have noticed that the number of sexually transmitted infections is rising. While some of this can be attributed to new residents moving into the area, the fact remains that STDs are quickly becoming a health crisis.
Statistics released by the California Local Health Jurisdiction show that the percentage of residents that test positive for any of the sexually transmitted diseases is climbing, and the data shows that the rates for the county has been above state averages for most STDs since 2005. The only rate currently below the state’s is Gonorrhea infections in women, and since 2012 the number of reported cases has started to climb.
It is not only Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates that are rising, but Syphilis incidents in males are also climbing. This is slightly surprising to some local officials who thought that the city’s rate would be much lower than the state’s. As of 2014 the number of men infected with Syphilis was noticeably higher than those reported for the state.
The data also shows that STDs are not limited to one age group or ethnicity, but that everyone is at risk. African and Native American women have the highest incident rate for Chlamydia, while Syphilis affects Hispanics and Caucasian males almost equally. Young women, regardless of their ethnicity, have the greatest chances of contracting a STD, and this is not likely to change until everyone starts getting tested regularly. Some of the other statistics residents should be aware of include,
- Chlamydia rates in men and women have been above state averages since 2005.
- Syphilis incidents have almost tripled in men from 2005 to 2014.
- African American men are twice as likely to contract Syphilis as Hispanic and Caucasian males.
This school year marked the change in the state’s sexual education program. No longer are individual districts allowed to create their own programs, now they all must follow the curriculum developed by the state. These changes were made in response to the rapidly rising STD rates that are now being called a “statewide health epidemic”.
Abstinence is still discussed and encouraged, but state lawmakers have realized that it is simply not enough to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The new programs include current information about how these viruses are spread, along with methods on how students can adequately protect themselves.
While some parents and religious leader did and still oppose the new sex education program, it is already having a positive effect in some parts of the state. Local officials are also hopeful that it will also help lower the city’s own high STD rate. Students also learn how important regular HIV testing in El Cajon is, and that it is still the only way to positively detect the disease.
Regular Herpes testing in El Cajon is also discussed, and school administrators are hopeful that they will soon start to see a decrease in the number of students who test positive for the virus.
Sexually transmitted diseases are a problem that effects everyone, regardless of age or ethnicity. These factors do play a role in an area’s STD rate, and it is also something that health officials are currently addressing.
To help overcome the differences the state has made it mandatory that all public school districts implement sex education programs. With comprehensive information that pertains to today’s modern views and beliefs regarding sexuality, officials are hopeful that residents will have the knowledge they need to know when their behavior is putting them at risk.
Studies have shown that education is the most effective method of stopping the spread of sexually transmitted viruses, and it can also help dispel many of the myths and misconceptions young people have today. This includes understanding that you can get a STD even if you are not sexually active, and that the only proven method of protecting your health is to be tested at least once or twice a year.
Some of the misconceptions that health officials are hoping to dispel include the fact that HIV is still a deadly disease. While advances in treatment have made it possible for many residents to live full and happy lives, the fact remains that they are still affected by the disease. Illicit drug use among older men is one of the major contributors to the rise in Syphilis rates, and once again testing is the best way to prevent the spread of this treatable disease.
Even with the new education programs regular STD testing is still an important part of any health care routine, and this applies to residents of “The Big Box”. You can find community centers that offer STD testing, but it is understandable if you don’t want to spend your day waiting inside an understaffed clinic. Now you can easily take care of your sexual health simply by calling to schedule confidential STD testing. It only requires you to spend a few minutes at a local lab so you can enjoy the rest of your day in this beautiful city.