From 2011 to 2016 the occurrence of gonorrhea in residents living in the county grew 122%, followed by syphilis cases of which grew 104% during that five year period. Chlamydia comes in third with a growth of 30% from 2011 to 2016. In 2015, 2/3 of the reported syphilis cases in the area were in homosexual males. The same year, one child was born with syphilis contracted from the mother during her pregnancy. This could have been avoided, as it is easy to treat in pregnant women, showing just how important sex education is in Santa Cruz.
- Between 2013 and 2014 the number of residents diagnosed with syphilis grew from 32 to 45, a 41% growth from one year to the next.
- During the same time period the number of reported gonorrhea cases went from 134 up to 176, at a growth rate of 31%. For 2014, the majority of residents diagnosed with gonorrhea were between the ages of 20 and 24.
- The good news is that from 2013 to 2014 cases of chlamydia were down from 1,003 to 810, a 9% drop in the rate of diagnoses.
- 2014 saw the most cases of chlamydia in young women between the ages of 20 and 24.
STD testing is always available in the city. Locals of all ages can rest assured that their testing will be taken seriously and handled with dignity and care.
Test counselors certified by the state regularly perform HIV testing in conjunction with the city’s AIDS Project. However, anonymous free HIV testing is only offered at the local office to those residents who qualify. This includes sexually active gay men, sexual assault victims, IV drug users and anyone whose significant other has already been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Test results come back the same day and testing can be performed in 15 to 20 minutes. Qualified residents can also get tested for hepatitis C.
Those who prefer to undergo STD testing without having to leave home can order a kit they can use to test for gonorrhea and chlamydia, the two most common types of STDs diagnosed in the area. Completed tests are mailed in and residents have their test results within days.
Student volunteers at the University of California Santa Cruz help run the HIV Prevention Program. Outreach programs are held for community members where educational activities and events are led. Those who volunteer for the project are encouraged to assist in programs already established or create programs of their own in an effort to fight HIV and AIDS infection.
Residents can benefit from the local STD Community Interventions Program. This is a program that has been in place since 2000 and was originally called the Chlamydia Awareness and Prevention Program. The program targets young adults and youths in the area at risk for STDs.
Since 2014, STDs in the city have been on the rise and many blame the problem on those who seek sexual partners using the Internet. Certain dating apps have been named as the root of the problem among mostly young men. Teenagers and individuals in their 20s are the biggest demographic of those suffering from STDs.
As a result, the policy is that certain neighborhood clinics will test anyone 13 or older for an STD without requiring parental consent. They also take walk-ins, which can be done on the evenings and weekends, making it easy for teenagers to obtain STD testing when it is convenient. Many of the clinics will treat couples were both are suffering from an STD.
Health care is always a growing concern and much of the health care system focuses on the treatment and prevention of STDs in the city’s residents. The process of being tested for STDs is an easy one as clinics and other health centers perform their testing the same way a hospital would.
No matter where one lives in the city, there is a place close by where they can get tested for STDs. There are thousands of testing centers throughout the area, with 12 main locations. Tests are always conducted in private. College students are especially encouraged to have themselves tested for STDs and to seek out support if they are diagnosed.
Within the state fighting STDs is a high priority, but it is higher in this area than in other cities throughout the state. The population of University students living in the city has contributed to the growing awareness of STDs and how to successfully avoid them.
As young people are the ones most likely to contract and STD, much of the city’s focus has been on educating them and offering them the support that they need to avoid contracting one. The caring and friendly help professionals are working towards a common goal; cutting down on the number of STD diagnoses. The city will likely continue to offer full support and accessible testing for those who need the tests the most.
Many residents are now taking advantage of a faster and easier way to take care of the sexual health. With one phone call they can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a local lab.