For the past twenty years STD rates have been steadily rising in South Gate and surrounding LA County. In 2005 the percentage of residents that tested positive for one or more of the commonly transmitted diseases surpassed state averages, and these rates show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The statistics released by the Los Angeles County Health Department and the CDC show that it is not just teens that are contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but adults are testing positive with alarming frequency. Women and men ages 20 to 24 account for over 50 percent of the STDs reported in the city and county each year.
Women account for 62.1 percent of Chlamydia cases, but over 70 percent of the Gonorrhea incidents reported each year occur in men. African American men have the highest risk for contracting Gonorrhea, and this is also true regarding HIV/AIDS.
The recent statistics also show that early Syphilis diagnoses are increasing in frequency, and are well above state averages. African American men seem to present the biggest risk for contracting the disease, and in the last five years their chances of testing positive have almost doubled.
If these statistics are not enough to convince residents that regular STD testing needs to be a part of their regular health care routine, then the following data should help to emphasize how important this simple procedure really is.
- Since 2005 the Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates for women and men has been well above state averages.
- 70 percent of the Gonorrhea incidents reported in the city and county occurred in young men.
- 95 percent of the county’s primary and secondary Syphilis cases were reported in men, with the majority occurring in males over the age of 24.
With STD rates reaching an all-time high state lawmakers decided it was time to take proactive steps, and in January of 2016 they made comprehensive sex education mandatory in all public primary and secondary schools.
While parents can still opt their children out of these new classes, officials are hopeful that the majority of students will be able to take advantage of the new information being offered. The new law, which is referred to as the California Healthy Youth Act begins in the 7th grade and continues through high school.
Students are no longer simply learning that being sexually active can result in STDs, they are now being taught how to protect themselves. Abstinence is still discussed and even encouraged, but with polls showing that most teens have engaged in sexual activity at least once before graduation these classes also cover how students can protect themselves.
This not only includes the importance of and proper use of condoms, but also that students need to be tested for STDs on a regular basis. How all STDs are spread is also discussed, along with the reasons why regular HIV testing in South Gate is so important. Students also learn that regular Herpes testing in South Gate is just as important, especially since the virus can be found in almost every local high school.
The city has a diverse population and this is contributing to the rising STD rates. Different cultural and religious beliefs can make it difficult for health officials to reach everyone to inform them about the importance of regular STD testing.
Proactive steps have been taken by state and local leaders in the form of comprehensive sex education, and lawmakers are hopeful that this will help lower the area’s high STD rates. Already in the first quarter of 2016 teen pregnancy rates have dropped, and fewer students tested positive for a sexually transmitted infection.
While this is good news for students and teens, the number of adults that contract a STD is still rising. Some of this is being blamed on dating apps that are making it easier for adults to “hook up”, and often they do not use protection during sexual activity. Simply assuming that a professional adult does not have a STD is one of the best ways for residents of South Gate to contract one of these transmittable diseases.
A growing increase in the use of illicit drugs is also being blamed for the rising STD rates among adults. Many adults are now sharing needles, not realizing that this is one of the most common methods for transmitting HIV and Syphilis. As long as this problem continues the city and county can expect to see its STD rates continue to increase.
Before you decide to spend the day exploring South Gate and the LA metro area it is important to take a few minutes to think about your sexual health. It is understandable that you don’t want to spend the entire day standing in line at a STI clinic, and now you don’t have to. You can easily schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call, and only spend a few minutes at a nearby lab. This way you can take care of your sexual health, and still have plenty of time to stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.