Statistics recently released by the Los Angeles County Health Department and the CDC have made it impossible for residents to ignore the rising STD rate in the metro city. The statistics also indicate that this trend is nothing new, and in fact the number of STDs reported annually has been increasing for the past twenty years.
Chlamydia is the most common STD reported in the area and statistics show that from 2009 to 2013 the number of infections reported increased by 10 percent. 67 percent of the Chlamydia incidents occurred in young women, with African American and Hispanic females accounting for the majority of cases. During the same four year period Gonorrhea rates also increased by 47 percent, making it the second most commonly reported STD in the county and metro area.
Men ages 18 to 24 are among those with the highest risk for contracting Gonorrhea, especially African American males. In 2013 men accounted for 43 percent of the reported Gonorrhea incidents, and the numbers have continued to rise over the last couple of years. Men are also at a higher risk for contracting Syphilis, and this is also the third most common STD reported in the area each year.
In 2014 it was reported that the rates for all three of these STDs were higher in the county than state and national averages. This does not factor in the HIV/AIDS rate which is also rising in the area. Some of the others statistics that highlight the growing STD problem in the area, and the need for regular testing include,
- The county reported a Chlamydia rate of 548 cases, compared to the state’s 460 per 100,000 residents.
- In 2013 alone there were 12,484 cases of Gonorrhea reported in the county and metro area.
- Males over the age of 25 are at a significantly higher risk for contracting early, latent or primary and secondary Syphilis.
In response to the rising STD rate the state recently passed a bill requiring all public school districts to provide comprehensive and medically accurate sex education. Abstinence based material is no longer allowed to be used, and this means that students will no longer be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed if they are already sexually active.
Topics that will be covered include how STDs are spread, along with measures students can take to protect themselves if they are sexually active. The subject of regular testing will also be discussed, and this is important if city leaders want to see the STD infection rate in teens start to decrease.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems with the new sex education law. The fact that these classes start in the 7th grade has some conservatives worried that this is too young for them to start learning about this sensitive subject, and that it will only encourage students to become sexually active instead of waiting until they are married. It will also be difficult for the state to ensure that all public school districts are following the new mandates. There are currently only a few people responsible for ensuring that schools use the new curriculum, and it is basically impossible for them to oversee every district in the state.
While there are still problems that need to be resolved students are learning how important regular HIV testing in Hawthorne is for their continued good health. They are also being taught that regular Herpes testing in Hawthorne is the best way to prevent the spread of this contagious virus.
Even though comprehensive sex education is now required in all public schools systems STDs are still on the rise in this community and there are several reasons why.
Not all public school districts in the city have had the time needed to implement the new sex education classes. This is especially true for schools that never provided students with any information that was not required by federal law. Budget cuts to education are making it difficult for some school districts to afford the new curriculum, and this means that some students still aren’t receiving the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
Many residents still believe that a STD could never happen to them, and that there is no need for regular testing. Others simply do not recognize the signs and symptoms, and this is true for teens and adults.
Along with budget cuts to education health care is also dealing with a lack of funding. Not only is regular STD testing no longer covered by Medicaid, many of the city’s STI clinics have been forced to close their doors. If residents cannot afford testing or even find a clinic that is open, it can be difficult for them to take responsibility for their sexual health.
Before you head to the beach or into downtown LA it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. The number of STDs reported in the community is rising each year, and this means that it is important for everyone to get tested on a regular basis. If you have been putting off STD testing due to long lines at the clinics, there is a faster and easier way for you to take care of your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes of your time at a conveniently located lab.