Hispanics, African Americans, and men are often the highest at risk for all of the STDs except for Chlamydia. Teens and young adults are also testing positive more frequently, though Syphilis does seem to affect more older men.
- 40.3 percent of Chlamydia cases reported in 2014 occurred in women.
- 2014 saw an increase in Gonorrhea incidents in men that surpassed state averages.
- Between 2013 and 2014 primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses increased slightly in women, and rose sharply in men.
- By 2014 the number of men who tested positive for Gonorrhea was above the state average for percentage of females infected.
California has recently made it mandatory for schools to include information on the dangers of engaging in sexual activity, along with all of the various ways to protect yourself from a venereal disease.
While most officials and parents agree that something needs to help lower STD rates and stop the spread of infection, not all are comfortable with the new curriculum. Many point out that the legal age for consent in the state is still 18, and that there is no reason to encourage younger teens to start having sex. Supporters of the new classes point out that students are already sexually active, and with polls showing that over half of all graduating seniors have already engaged in intercourse it seems that they are right.
One of the main demographical factors contributing to the growing percentage of residents who test positive for a STD is the large number of migrant workers who come into the area each year.
San Joaquin Valley is well known for its agricultural and Visalia is at the center. While this is beneficial for the local economy, it also means that there is a sudden spurt in the population during the growing season. The majority of these workers are not aware of the dangers STDs present, and many are already infected when they come to the area.
Without adequate health care in place to address these concerns at the migrant farm camps STDs will continue to spread unchecked through the area. Since some sexually transmitted infections can be passed through touch contact, this also means that permanent residents are at risk.
Language barriers among Hispanic workers and a deep mistrust of any government employee are also contributing to the high STD rates in the city. The remote location in the valley can make it difficult for health officials to set up testing centers, and the entire state is also dealing with a significant lack of funding. Without the funds necessary to keep community health centers open, many residents are finding it difficult to find somewhere to go to be tested.
With the Sierra Nevada Mountains nearby and Sequoia National Forest many residents skip regular STD testing in favor of spending the day outside. You don’t have to give-up a day, just for testing. STI clinics can be found on the way to the trails, and their fast service and results will ensure that you’re quickly on your way.