There has been a steady increase of many STDs, in particular, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Gonorrhea has been in the up stick, increasing almost twofold for county males between 2009 and 2015. At one point it led the nation in STD outbreaks than anywhere else in the country. One of the reasons why STDs tend to proliferate is because those who are infected with an STD don’t know that they do, exposing it to others.
Another area of concern is the age of West Hollywood residents that are being impacted by STDs. Those between the ages of 20 and 29 tend to be a risk group for the three major STDs – with chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis mainly proliferating in the Black population. Black female residents between the ages of 20 and 24 tend to be most conflicted with chlamydia, with the highest risk of syphilis sufferers disproportionally inflicting the county’s black male population. Another concern is that gonorrhea is becoming increasingly resistant to medication, surviving even bouts of antibiotics.
Frustratingly enough, the increase of sexually transmitted diseases comes at the heel of a revolutionary medical device –pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. This medical regimen significantly lowers the risks of HIV infection to almost 0. However, the regimen is strict, with issues being compounded because many people who use PrEP are increasingly forgoing condoms. PrEP can reduce your risk of HIV transmission, but it does not prevent the transmission of other infections – only condoms can do that.
While the county that it is located on may have a problem with STDs, local and public facilities have been proactive in instilling STD education and instruction to the local community. The Los Angeles LGBT Center has catered to the community for over 30 years, with its sexual health program helping 28,000 visitors in 2015, and over 11,000 visitors in various satellite locations.
One of the reasons why public health facilities have been successful, is due to its dedication to considering not only sexual health but also the effect of mental well-being and how that contribute to one’s commitment to safer sex. Mental health dictates personal choices, how one deals with a diagnosis, and even how an individual deal with STD. Unfortunately, depression occurs tends, convoluting the issue of safer sex.
Most STD screenings are done on a walk-in basis, offering free education and prevention counseling, as well as screenings for those who are currently undergoing HIV tests. Traditionally, a rapid HIV test is done, giving results in just a couple of hours with a 99 percent accuracy.
There is also the compelling case of networking apps and how they are contributing to the proliferation of STDs in West Hollywood. Many apps have allowed at risk populations to meet instantaneously and anonymously, lightening the burden of responsibility. These apps allow people to scroll through dozens of profile photos, and link up with a potential date in minutes.
Even though it’s hard to measure the correlation between these apps and sexually transmitted diseases, the WeHo mayor and council members have made it a public issue that needs relief and public education. The sale of illicit drugs on these apps have also contributed to the numbers of infected men, with drug dealers using it to find opportunistic people who want a source of meth.
The area is also struggling with HIV rates. While it has largely declined, it is the highest in the LA County. About 2500 residents are currently living with HIV, with that number steadily increasing over time. Initiatives are tasked to help reduce that number, with “HIV Zero” strategies underlining the importance of regular testing, treatment, and substance abuse treatment.
There is also a correlation between substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors, especially with young adults. The proliferation of social networking apps and a lack of consequences and awareness has convoluted the issue of STDs, ultimately leading to many young adults having a skewed understanding of STDs and how they are not only treated but also transmitted.
Services are also using the influence that families have on sex education and health. Family services and a public forum allow open dialogue between parents, caretakers, and their children. The best intervention to STD’s and STI’s is early prevention. WeHoLife and affiliate initiatives join mental health services, family service, and early screening to help alleviate West Hollywood’s STI proliferation.
Private screenings are more comfortable, allowing you to obtain valuable information about your sexual health. Regardless of how comfortable you may be with your doctor, confidential, free STD testing centers in West Hollywood will ensure that personal information stays private under California’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This Act allows doctors to operate under the same privacy laws that other physicians use in the United States to ensure confidentiality of their clients.
West Hollywood, California is all about the warm weather, the Sunset Strip, and sunny beaches all year long. Enjoy your time in the area and experience all that it offers, but do not forget the importance of your sexual health and the sexual health of your community. Several free STD testing centers will ensure confidentiality of your results, giving you results on your STD and HIV testing.