Additional STD Test Statistics in Merced, CA
STD rates in California are the worst they have been in two decades. National statistics show a rise in STDs, and California is worse with this including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
Cases have increased over 10 percent in California for the three STIs since 2014 which was the worst previous year. Here are rates for chlamydia.
- 479 per 100,000 in the United States
- 486 per 100,000 in California
Recent statistics shows that chlamydia and syphilis rates are on the rise in Merced county.
The rise of cases of syphilis in particular in the county is drawing the attention of health officials.
They aim to stop the spread of STDs through education and increased awareness. The county recorded 23 cases of syphilis in 2016, up from 16 in 2015 and 14 the year before, according to the health department.
STD cases overall have been rising in Merced County. Younger people more likely to contract a disease, including syphilis.
“There’s no single reason as to why youth get syphilis more,” said a county spokesperson. One reason is this is the age where individuals first start having sex.
People are either not being aware or not being consistent with using protection. In 2016 the county health department reported 1,153 cases of chlamydia and 323 of gonorrhea. That compared to 1,117 for chlamydia and 338 for gonorrhea in 2015, and 1,036 and 188, respectively, the year before. Lowering the rate of syphilis while detecting it at the earliest stage possible has been a high priority for the health department.
Syphilis is most infectious in the first 12 months after contraction. The city’s health department is being proactive in addressing the risk of early syphilis.
The health department has been evaluating the stages of reported cases of syphilis in the county. It has also been identifying sex partners of a patient and treating them so the chain of disease can stop.
The health department also is paying attention to cases of congenital syphilis. This is spread when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the infection to her child. The infection could be fatal to the baby. It can cause bone deformities and brain and nerve problems.
STD Testing and Sexual Health Education in Merced, CA
Comprehensive sex education is the law in California. This means that all public schools in California are required by law to teach comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education at least once in middle school and once in high school.
Comprehensive sex education includes learning about anatomy and birth control. It also means students are taught about healthy relationships, decision-making, and more.
This sex education should give students information to make healthy decisions about relationships and sexual and reproductive health. The sex education curriculum in school should include information about:
- Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sex trafficking
- Health relationships
- Adolescent relationship abuse, intimate partner violence and sexual coercion
- Sexual orientation and sexuality
- Gender identity, gender roles, and gender stereotypes
- Consent, communication, and healthy decision-making
- HIV prevention and other STD prevention including testing and treatment
- Pregnancy prevention, parenting, adoption, and abortion
It is the right of a student to get this information in schools. A group called Teen Source asks students if they are actually getting comprehensive sex education at school.
Teen Source provides students with a questionnaire online to fill out to say if they have not received sex education covering all of the above. Teen Source also gives students a chance to explain if they have received information that is not accurate.
Planned Parenthood in Merced has been using their education outreach as a way to prevent the spread of STDs. They spend a lot of our time in Merced County focused on community education. Through working with local partners and schools, Planned Parenthood reaches a broad age range.There still are areas where STD education isn’t as prevalent.
Legislation passed in California, AB 329, requires sexual health and HIV prevention education in public schools. This has helped Planned Parenthood reach more youth, but there still are young adults in their 20s who lack information.
A lot of people in college have limited info because they had limited or no sex education. It’s still a big issue in families where people don’t talk about it or it’s considered taboo. Planned Parenthood offers education services to anybody in the community. This can be a family, small group, or class.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in Merced, CA
A look at demographics can help our understanding of STI rates in your city and region. The demographic that is most likely to be infected and least likely to get tested is people 25 and younger. Some experts blame the rates of STDs in this demographic in part on the use of new hook up apps that lead to casual sex among people 25 and younger.
Concerning the jump in the state for STDs, officials are not sure of all the reasons. People are not using condoms regularly so this could lead to the higher STD rates. People are going without testing and treatment and unknowingly spreading STDs. This is another possible reason for the higher rates.
We also see reports that STD prevention systems have been weakened because local and state clinics have reduced capacity or closed in the last few years. This also contributes to higher STI rates.
HIV diagnoses were 85 percent for men having sex with men in 2013. Gay men saw the highest rates for STDs. Twice as many women suffer from chlamydia compared to men.
Men suffer in higher numbers than women from other STDs including syphilis and HIV. STD rates also are generally higher in areas with a high poverty rate.
STI Testing Resources in Merced, CA
There are STI testing resources available in your city and county. You can go to an area hospital, local lab or online service, or Planned Parenthood/Merced Health Center as some of the options. A Planned Parenthood Center offers:
- Conventional HIV Blood Testing
- Chlamydia Testing
- Syphilis Testing
- Gonorrhea Testing
- Herpes Testing
- Hepatitis B Vaccine
Concerning the Planned Parenthood location, know that if you are uninsured, you may qualify for a state-funded program or a lower fee scale. Bring a photo ID with you. Know also that fees for services are based on your household incomes. You will not be turned away because of your inability to pay.
Planned Parenthood launched an app in California to encourage people to get STD testing. Through the app men and women can order chlamydia and gonorrhea tests.
If you are embarrassed to be seen at Planned Parenthood you could consider the hospital or urgent care option. No one will know why you are there. Yet another option is a private service such as PlushCare.
You order your STD tests. Then you visit a local lab.
Then you get results via email in three business days or less. When you order you choose the tests you want to order.
You can also use the STD Check private service. This service is advertised as being 100 percent confidential. All tests are FDA approved. Same day testing is also available. Five-minute testing is an option with results in one to two days.
STD Check does not accept insurance. This way your testing results are not reported to your insurance company. This service provides a free phone consultation with a doctor for every test where you have a positive result.
Better Sexual Health in Merced, CA
Whether you go to an urgent care center, hospital, clinic, Planned Parenthood, counsellor or nurse at an area high school, or an online service, you can find in your area information about STDs, testing, and treatment. While STD rates are high in your area, help is available in your area in the way of testing and treatment that is confidential, discreet, compassionate, and effective.
Consider how the staff at these facilities is trained to help someone like you, especially with the staff at Planned Parenthood or any other facility reminding you to check your health, improve it, and keep yourself healthy by always using a condom.
You can go to a counsellor or nurse at Merced High School for information about STDs, testing, and treatment. Mercy Medical Center can also help. Here are links to resources mentioned above.