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Lynwood, California

Lynwood, California is a mid-sized town located in the booming Los Angeles metropolitan area that is home to almost 13 million people. Today, this community of approximately 70,000 residents is home to a vibrant Latinx community that is drawn by its relatively affordable housing prices (particularly compared with over-inflated prices that are seen in much of the rest of the Los Angeles area) and prevalent jobs in the hospitality sector. In addition to these jobs, there are also lots of employment opportunities available in Lynwood’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The city is committed to encouraging its residents to pursue a healthy and physically active lifestyle. However, one important part of a healthy lifestyle is sexual health, and Lynwood, CA is currently experiencing severe public health challenges with STDs, including: gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, and syphilis. In many ways, these challenges mirror the spike in STD rates that are being seen across the country, although the rates in Lynwood are particularly high

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STD Statistics In Los Angeles County, CA

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Statistics reported is based on publicly available data sources such as CDC for Los Angeles County, CA. Data is normalized to accurately report Los Angeles County STD Breakdown.

Additional STD Test Statistics in Lynwood, CA

In recent decades, sexually transmitted diseases have re-emerged as a public health concern across the United States. Recent newspaper articles have highlighted the dramatic surge in the number of STD cases, particularly chlamydia and gonorrhea, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Its syphilis rates have also increased at an alarming pace. There has been significant speculation about what factors have fueled this rise. Some sociologists have pointed to the fact that Los Angeles has a much younger average population than many urban areas, and many of these young people regularly use social media and apps, such as Tinder, to hook up with others. The higher the number of partners that an individual has, the greater the likelihood that he/she will be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, chlamydia cases have increased more than 17 percent in recent years. There are more than 50,000 newly diagnosed chlamydia cases each year. Although chlamydia is treatable via antibiotics, chlamydia may profoundly negatively impact a young woman’s lifelong fertility. Thus, it is highly concerning from a public health perspective.  

Gonorrhea figures have also shown a similar dramatic uptick in recent years. The number of diagnosed gonorrhea cases in Los Angeles County increased from roughly 9500 in 2010 to almost 15,000 in 2014. And, if recent newspaper reports are to be believed, this trend is continuing unchecked into 2017.

For myriad reasons, over the last two decades, syphilis has re-emerged as a public health crisis and infection rates have skyrocketed across the country. Although syphilis rates are particularly high in struggling blue collar communities across the Midwest Rust Belt, Los Angeles County has not been immune to the problem. In recent years, the number of reported syphilis infections has nearly doubled. It is also important to note that many doctors still tend to not aggressively test for syphilis. Therefore, these reported figures likely significantly underestimate the true incidence rate for the disease.

Interestingly, as the incidence rates for other STDs has soared in Los Angeles County, the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases has declined as organizations continue to work to educate vulnerable communities (such as the LGBTQ community and drug users) about the dangers of the disease and how to effectively prevent transmission.  The vast majority of HIV-positive individuals in Los Angeles County are men, and particularly homosexual males. However, this is also the group that has seen the most dramatic decline in newly diagnosed cases.

Graph of hiv rate in lynwood california from 2014

STD Testing and Sexual Education in Lynwood, CA

Sexual health education continues to be a controversial topic in public schools across the country.  Sexual health educators and public health advocates argue that it is important that children receive comprehensive sexual health education that underscores the importance of using condoms and regularly testing for STDs. These educators recognize that most young adults will be sexually active during their teenage years, and frequently with multiple partners. The goal is not to stop these sexual activities, but rather to ensure that they are as safe and healthy as possible. However, not everyone agrees with this approach. Many parents and conservative community members favor abstinence-based programs, despite research that shows these programs tend to be less effective (measured across a wide variety of indicators).

The Lynwood Public Schools, and public schools across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, do a better job than average in educating children and young adults about sexual health. However, these lessons are not always supported at home in Lynwood. Many recently settled immigrants in the community are staunch Roman Catholics and they frown on both pre-marital sexual relations and condom use. This results in children hearing a very mixed message on sexual health.

Given the large number of Lynwood, California residents who are under the age of 18, sexual health education is a vitally important topic in this community. Parents, educators, and activists should be encouraged to send a consistent and positive message about sexual health.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in Lynwood, CA

According to the most recent census, Lynwood, California has a population of just under 70,000 individuals. This represents a slight decline compared with the 2000 census and indicates that many recent immigrants still continue to find Lynwood an attractive living option because of its relatively low cost housing options. However, concerns with a growing crime rate in the area temper many people’s enthusiasm about living in Lynwood. Due to the relatively high poverty rate in the community and low average household income, it should not be surprising that a significant percentage of Lynwood residents rent, rather than own, their homes.

Given that Latinx immigrants tend to have relatively higher birth rates than many other demographic groups, it does not come as a shock that more than 2/3 of the community’s households have children under the age of 18. This high percentage of younger residents also helps explain Lynwood’s troublingly high rates of STDs. Across the country, a large number of newly diagnosed chlamydia and gonorrhea cases are impacting teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.

Many of these young adults tend to engage in promiscuous sexual relations with multiple partners, and many of these hook-ups are also fueled by drugs and alcohol. Evidence suggests that substance use lowers people’s inhibitions and also decreases the likelihood that people will use safe sexual health practices. Communities with large tween and teen populations, such as Lynwood, are disproportionately impacted by this trend.

STI Testing Resources in Lynwood, CA

Given that Lynwood, California is located in the country’s second largest metropolitan area (Los Angeles), it should come as no surprise that residents have a wide range of testing options that they can select from to address their sexual health needs.

These testing options include a variety of for-pay clinics that specialize in STD testing, as well as private doctors’ offices. The drawback of these options is that they are often expensive and many of the economically vulnerable residents of Lynwood may be unable to afford them. Also, for-pay testing centers often do not offer follow-up care following a positive test result; and these testing facilities may not have multi-lingual staff. Language barriers may be a significant impediment to care for many Lynwood residents.

For individuals who are concerned about having an affordable STD testing option, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Public Health, a branch of the California Department of Public Health, offers low cost testing for a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases. This Center consistently receives outstanding reviews from the patients who use it. Its staff also includes trained professionals who speak a wide variety of languages. This is an important factor for many Lynwood residents. With payments on a sliding fee scale, STD testing at the Center is affordable for everyone.

Other Lynwood residents choose to have their sexual health needs addressed at the nearest Planned Parenthood Clinic; the Watts/Willowbrook Health Center.  Like with most Planned Parenthood Clinics around the country, this center offers comprehensive health care services for women and men, as well as contraceptive services and best practice STD testing, all at reasonable prices.

Even though there are numerous testing options available in the Los Angeles, and Lynwood, area, it is important to remember that the Los Angeles metropolitan area is notorious for snarled traffic. Getting from one area of the city to another can be an all-day challenge, particularly for people who are using public transportation.  This is something to keep in mind when choosing a testing center.

Better Sexual Health in Lynwood, CA

Lynwood, California is a community that has numerous positives. At the same time, it is a town that faces myriad challenges that are largely shaped by its demographics. Currently, Lynwood is home to a vibrant Latinx community. Many of the town’s residents do not speak English, and a large number struggle with persistent poverty. The average household income in Lynwood, CA is less than one-half of the income seen in the rest of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Poverty, coupled with frequent language barriers, means that educating community members on sexual health has been challenging; and, it has frequently resulted in behaviors that have led to high rates of numerous sexually transmitted diseases, and particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia. Moving forward, community leaders and educators will need to work together to fight the current public health challenge of STDs, and allow the community to take advantage of all of Lynwood’s wonderful opportunities.

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