The picturesque city and idyllic scenery can make it difficult to believe that the area is currently seeing a rise in the number of STDs reported each year. While statistics show that some venereal diseases like Hepatitis C are decreasing, incidents of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV are on the rise.
The statistics seem to indicate that the number of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year has been steadily increasing. Over the last twenty years incidents rates for teens and young adults have been noticeably climbing, especially among Hispanics and African Americans.
Health officials also noted that Syphilis incidents are on the rise, and this is particularly troubling since the disease was thought to be under control. The disease seems to be more prevalent in older Caucasian men, which is another surprising finding for health professionals. Previously older adults usually had the least risk of contracting a STD, but statistics show that this is rapidly changing.
With STD incidents increasing in this agricultural area, health officials are stressing the importance of regular testing. Some of the other statistics that has health professionals worried include,
- Between 2000 and 2002 there were 277.9 incidents of Chlamydia, compared to 329.1 reported in 2009-2011.
- African Americans have the greatest risk of contracting Chlamydia with a rate over 500, compared to Caucasians with a rate slightly over 100 percent.
- Gonorrhea rates for African Americans has gone from 47.3 in the years spanning 2000-2002 to 88.1 in 2009-2011.
Studies have shown that the best way to slow down and prevent the spread of STDs is to educate teens and adults. Recently law makers have made it mandatory for public schools to teach comprehensive and medically accurate sexual education programs in the classroom, in hopes that these studies are right.
Sexually transmitted disease rates are up across the nation and this includes in the state, and the city of Salinas. Law makers are hoping that requiring schools to teach teens about the dangers of engaging in unprotected sex, along with all of the various ways STDs are spread will finally begin to lower the rate of infection.
It has long been known that high schools typically have a problem with Herpes and the best way to prevent the virus from spreading is to ensure teens and parents know how to protect themselves. Since it can be spread through casual contact, regular Herpes testing in Salinas can prevent it from becoming a problem in area high schools.
Ensuring that teens and their parents are also aware of the potential dangers of HIV and how it is spread is also a required part of the mandates concerning sexual education classes, and health officials are hopeful this will help slow down the increasing number of residents who are testing positive for the potentially deadly disease. Regular HIV testing in Salinas is quick and painless, and it is an important part of taking care of your sexual health.
While the area may be mainly agricultural STDs are still on the rise, and there are several demographical factors contributing to the problem.
Many families are still recovering from the formerly stagnant economy, and find it difficult to afford regular testing. This can be especially true for residents that depend on small family farms for their income. Even though they may live outside of the city, their children are still exposed to the potential risks common in schools.
The area also has a large migrant population that makes it difficult for health officials to stress the importance of regular testing, and language barriers are also a common problem. Many Hispanics also have a deep mistrust of government officials, and will not discuss any potential health risks with outsiders.
Salinas and the surrounding area sees thousands of tourists each year and many of these visitors are also infected with a sexually transmitted disease, and often pass it on to full time residents.
Some of the other factors that are causing the STD rates to climb include cultural and religious beliefs that make it difficult for teens and young adults to discuss any problems or get testing. Misconceptions and stereotypes have lead some residents to believe that they are never at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or made them too ashamed and embarrassed to be seen at a community health center. There is also a shortage of clinics in the area, which makes it easy to keep putting the checkup off due to an unwillingness to spend all day standing in line.
Before touring the John Steinbeck Museum or exploring the beautiful countryside it is important to stop and remember to take care of your sexual health. There are a few community clinics located in the vicinity, but the majority of residents prefer to skip the long lines and have their test done quickly and in private. You can easily schedule confidential STD testing simply by making one simple phone call, and instead of waiting all day you can spend 20 minutes or so at a nearby lab. It only takes a few minutes to take care of your health, and you will still have the whole day to enjoy Salinas.