In most cities, STD statistics for major infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are maintained on a county wide basis. In Santa Clara County, home of San Jose, STDs have been on a steady increase over the past several years.
As in many other urban areas, young people appear to be at the highest risk when it comes to vulnerability for STDs and, as a result, much of the outreach work done in this regard is aimed at the youth in San Jose.
While the increase in STD transmission hasn’t been dramatic, this steady increase implies a lax approach to both safe sex and early testing for all sexually active people in the county. With young people so overly represented in these statistics, it’s no wonder that outreach programs find themselves struggling to drive home the importance of using protection during sex as well as getting tested regularly.
Testing and education opportunities exist within San Jose, though few people make as much use of them as they should. With rates on the increase, public health officials have been trying to make sex education focus on more than simply the mechanics of sex as a way to engage students, though this has met with some resistance and cause controversy.
Most recently, the local school district made headlines when local parents appealed to have a sex education book removed from classrooms when it was revealed it discussed topics such as masturbation, foreplay and erotic touch.
The book, titled “Your Health Today” became the focus of national attention when the controversy regarding its wide reaching subject matter became an issue for local parents. The book was ultimately pulled and replaced with materials deemed more age appropriate.
While sex education remains a contentious issue in the area, in 2008 the California Board of Education did adopt health education guidelines which included education on sexuality and sexual intercourse alongside other personal health issues such as diet, nutrition and environmental health. While the board chose to tread lightly when it came to the specifics topics that can be taught, it did draw the line to ban ‘abstinence only’ sex education in an effort to ensure all children are aware of the risks associated with unprotected sex.
There are community outreach and education efforts which endeavor to help people better understand the options when it comes to safe sex as well as the importance of being tested even when using protection. This message is trying to be delivered on a wide scale in order to reach those most at risk.
According to statistics for the city and surrounding area, younger people and people of color have proven to be the most vulnerable segments of the population. Experts believe this is due to a lack of early education as well as problems with the accessibility of safe sex products.
As a response, there are many public clinics which offer STD testing for a broad spectrum of STIs as well as specific HIV testing. These clinics work on a sliding scale basis, making them affordable for everyone but also putting a tremendous burden on the clinics themselves.
Since there are so many people attempting to obtain STD tests through these public clinics, a number of specialized clinics have been launched which offer same day and confidential STD testing options throughout the city. These newer clinics also offer comprehensive STD testing as well as information on resources and support for those who test positive.
Like many cities, San Jose balances public health and education on a thin line. While public health officials want to do everything they can to reign in STD rates throughout the area, offering STD testing services to the public is expensive and time consuming. When public health clinics become overworked it can diminish the efficacy of the clinics.
Fortunately, there are now more private clinics which offer STD and HIV testing which is confidential, quick and convenient. These private STD clinics offer the perfect solution for people who need to obtain their STD testing quickly, easily and affordably. They also offer people the opportunity to get tested often, increasing the chances of dealing with any problems or concerns, including STDs, at an early stage which increases the chances for successful treatment.
Finally, early and frequent testing is often the key to all around sexual health as it allows sexual partners to be more open with one another and encourages better health. By understanding your sexual health, you can see not only ensure your own health and safety, you can also prevent the spread of STDs by encouraging others to do the same.