Statistics released by the CDC and San Diego County Health Department show that the STD rate has been steadily rising in the area for the past twenty years. Recently steps have been taken by state lawmakers to help lower these rates, but as of right now the majority of the STDs are still climbing.
While Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV incidents are up, the number of cases of Chlamydia reported in women and men is decreasing. This is good news for the city which previously had one of the highest rates of infection in the state.
After peaking in 2012 the Chlamydia rates have been slowly decreasing, though they are still higher than state averages. Gonorrhea infections in women are also decreasing, but this is not the case in men. Since 2009 the number of men who tested positive for Gonorrhea has nearly doubled, and it is on track to exceed the rate reported by the state.
The same is also true regarding primary and secondary Syphilis incidents in men. After dropping sharply in 2009 the rates have doubled and are well above state averages. This is particularly concerning to health officials for several reasons. Not only did they believe that this sexually transmitted disease was well under control, many of those infected with Syphilis also test positive for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.
Syphilis diagnoses are not only limited to teens and young adults who typically exhibit risky behavior, but older men are testing positive more often.
Some of the other statistics that highlight the city’s growing problem with STDs include,
- Chlamydia rates are almost twice as high in African American women as those in other ethnic groups, according to 2014 statistics.
- From 2005 to 2014 the Chlamydia rates in women has been slowly decreasing, but they are rising in young men.
- The rate for primary and secondary Syphilis has doubled in men from 2005 to 2014.
At the start of 2016 the governor of California signed a bill into law making it mandatory for all public school districts to include comprehensive and medically accurate information in their sex education programs.
With STD rates rising across the state, especially in teens and young adults lawmakers realized that something needed to be done to protect the sexual health of all of its residents. Along with the federally required HIV/AIDS prevention classes, students will now receive information on how all of the STDs are spread and the best ways to protect themselves if they are sexually active.
In the first quarter of 2016 some school districts are already reporting a decrease in the number of teen pregnancies, and the Chlamydia rate in the county is also falling. Even though it is still above state averages, it is still a sign that the new sex education programs are working.
Students also learn about the importance of taking responsibility for their own sexual health, which includes regular HIV testing in Vista. With the number of residents testing positive for this potentially deadly virus rising each year, this procedure should be an important part of everyone’s health care routine. Regular Herpes testing in Vista is also important, and the simple procedure could help prevent the virus from continuing to run rampant through area high schools.
Even though the city has implemented comprehensive sex education classes in its public schools the STD rates are still rising in the area. It is too soon to tell if the new programs will be effective, but early studies indicate that the state and city will begin to see positive results in the next several months.
Some counties have already seen their STD rates begin to drop, and Vista is already noticing a decrease in the number of teen pregnancies reported in the last 6 months. While these are positive signs more still needs to be done to effectively lower the city’s STD rates.
Even though many residents are beginning to understand how important it is to be tested, some are still putting the simple procedure off.
The lack of STI clinics nearby is making it difficult for some residents to find a community health center in their neighborhood. The few that are centrally located are often understaffed due to lack of state and federal funding. Long lines and crowded waiting rooms are common, and some residents spend all day waiting for treatment only to be told that they have to come back again.
Lower income residents are also finding it difficult to afford regular STD testing, especially since it is no longer covered under Medicaid.
Until these and other problems are resolved the city can continue to expect to see high STD rates.
Before you decide to spend the day at the botanical gardens or take a tour of the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum it is important to take a few minutes and consider your sexual health. It is understandable if you don’t want to spend the entire day standing in line at the community health clinic, and now you don’t have to since you can easily schedule confidential STD testing. It only takes one phone call and a few minutes at a conveniently located lab and you can take care of your sexual health.