Increase in sexually transmitted infections in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) – In two weeks, Long Beach will host an AIDS walk on November 14.

The aim is to raise funds so that several centers and hospitals can help provide free tests for HIV, STDs and STIs.

This is important to the Long Beach community as statistics show there is an increase in sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.

Long Beach has historically had some of the highest rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in California.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services publishes a surveillance report with data each year.

The last report was from 2019, but came out in June 2021 because officials were focusing on the pandemic.

“We saw in 2019, an increase in syphilis and high but stable levels of chlamydia and gonorrhea,” said Emily Johnson, HIV and STI surveillance program specialist for the Department of Health and Human Services. from Long Beach.

From 2015 to 2019 in Long Beach, chlamydia increased by 12%, gonorrhea by 59%, and congenital syphilis by 613%.

Congenital syphilis occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection to her baby during pregnancy.

Johnson says women of color have been affected by syphilis more recently.

“From what we hear from our patients when we interview them, there is a lack of access to health care around these women in the community. There is a lack of transportation, people may not be able to take time off work and there’s also a mistrustful medical history, which I think is our job as healthcare providers to overcome these barriers, ”Johnson said.

STIs can increase your risk of getting HIV.

Everyone is susceptible to STIs and resources are available if you need them.

“There have been a lot of people who have come without insurance due to the loss of their jobs, so we are one of the few clinics that offer free testing as well as free treatment,” said Jess Nuñez, who works at the LGBTQ Center in Long Beach.

Data on STIs, STDs, and HIV are available on the website. The 2020 annual report for Long Beach is in preparation.

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