Since this suburban neighborhood is considered part of the greater LA metro area health officials expect to see high STD rates, but even they were surprised by the recent statistics released by the CDC.
Over a twenty year span the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported in Norwalk each year has been steadily increasing. Since 2010 the rates for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis have been higher than state and national averages, and show no signs of decreasing any time soon.
Even though proactive steps are being taken in the state, this suburban neighborhood still has one of the highest rates of infection. In a four year period the rates for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis almost doubled, and statistics also show that Herpes is still a major health concern in public schools.
Statistics also indicate that teens and young adults are among those with the highest risk, but older males are testing positive for primary and secondary Syphilis more often in recent years. While Chlamydia is a major health risk for women, in recent years Gonorrhea has become a bigger problem for men. As the rates for this STD drop in women, it is quickly increasing in young men.
The statistics do include some good news for the suburb, HIV/AIDS rates are decreasing. Fewer residents are testing positive for the virus each year, which is helping to lower the percentage of residents who are living with the disease. Once everyone understands how important testing is, the area could see the rest of the STD rates also begin to decrease. Some of the data that indicates how important regular testing is includes,
- Norwalk and Los Angeles County have had the highest rate for Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhea infections since 2010, according to statistics released in 2014.
- From 2010 to 2014 the number of positive Syphilis diagnoses doubled in the county.
- 2011 to 2012 saw Gonorrhea rates rise above state and national percentages, and it is still higher.
In response to the rising STD rates across the state, California now requires all public primary and secondary schools to offer sexual education classes to students grades 7 through12. While it has been mandatory that public schools provide current information on HIV/AIDS, it has always left it up to the individual districts to decide what else is included in the program.
This new law, which went into effect in January 2016, has made it easier for teens to get the information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. Parents still have the option to sign their children out of the classes in middle and high school, but health officials are hopeful that the majority of students will be allowed to participate.
The new sex education program is designed to meet the needs of students, and will cover everything from the use of contraceptives to the importance of regular HIV testing in Norwalk. With statistics showing that HIV incidents are already down, health officials are hopeful that the new program might be able to finally stop the virus from spreading to other residents. Regular Herpes testing in Norwalk is also discussed and its importance stressed in an ongoing effort to stop the spread of the virus in area high schools.
Even though it is considered a part of metro LA and this affect the number of STDs reported each year, this is not the only reason the suburban community has such a high rate of infection.
Norwalk is a densely populated neighborhood with few health resources, which can make it difficult for residents to be tested. This can be a particular problem for lower income families who simply cannot afford a visit to a health care professional, unless it is an emergency.
A recent survey also found that residents in the area are less likely to be tested regularly, and this is due to several factors. An inability to pay or find transportation to a health clinic plays a role, but the biggest obstacle is the fact that many residents simply believe that a STD can never happen to them. Some of the sexually transmitted infections do not display immediate symptoms, which makes it easy to spread the viruses without even realizing it.
While the recent changes to the sexual education programs in the public schools are designed to help address some of these factors, it is still up to residents to take responsibility for their own health. This includes being tested for all transmittable diseases on a regular basis, regardless of your sexual activity.
Close to downtown LA and Long Beach, there is never a shortage of things to do and see in and around Norwalk. While it’s easy to get lost in the glamour and excitement of the city, this does not mean that it’s okay to forget about your sexual health. It is understandable that you don’t want to spend your day waiting in long lines, and now you don’t have to if you make one simple phone call. You can easily schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to enjoy your day around town.