SAN JOSE (KRON) — South Bay health officials are encouraging people to celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing you care by getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
The Santa Clara County Health Department is urging precautions in light of a sharp increase in STD cases in recent years.
Mirroring a trend across California and the nation, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have been increasing for the past five years in Santa Clara County.
California has the highest number of cases of all states, and it’s not just confined to the youngest, most sexually active people among us, says the health department’s Dr. Sarah Lewis
“It’s very worrisome because we’re seeing the rise across all genders, across all sexual orientations, and increasingly across all age groups,” Dr. Lewis said. “Where once we saw chlamydia and gonorrhea mostly in people ages 15-25, now we are seeing these rising rates in all ages.”
In 2016, the latest data available shows that there were 6,963 cases of chlamydia, 1,914 cases of gonorrhea, and 351 cases of syphilis in Santa Clara County.
The number of cases of syphilis also tripled from 2011 to 2016.
Why is this happening?
“We know it’s more than the fact that we are diagnosing more cases, although that is a piece of it,” Lewis said. “It may have more to do with changing patterns about how people meet their sexual partners or how many partners they have…”
STDs are easily treated and cured with antibiotics, but if left untreated, can increase the risk of HIV infection and complicate pregnancy.
What can people do to reduce their risk of contracting or spreading STDs?
“Abstaining from sex is one option,” Dr. Lewis said. “Another would be to reduce the number of partners, using condoms correctly every time, and getting tested and treated regularly.”
For information about testing, answers to your questions, as well as free condoms and other STD prevention materials, visit gettestedscc.org or stop by the county health department at 976 Lenzen Ave.
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