Sacramento Bee (11.27.11) - Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sacramento-area health care providers are warning of a "silent
epidemic" of chlamydia and gonorrhea among young women. New
data from the California Department of Public Health show more
than four of every 100 Sacramento County females ages 15-24
were diagnosed with either STD in 2010 - a 12 percent jump
from the year before.
The 2010 data caused the county to rank first in the state for
its rate of gonorrhea infection among young women and second-
highest for chlamydia, behind San Francisco. New gonorrhea
infections among young women in Sacramento County last year
were nearly 190 percent higher than the statewide average, and
chlamydia diagnoses were about 60 percent higher.
Sacramento's high STD rate "is definitely an enigma that we're
trying to work through," said Cassius Lockett, chief
epidemiologist for the county.
One question is why the STD increase was concurrent with a 23
percent decline in the birthrate among young women. STD
specialists worry the answer may be that girls are using
hormonal birth control instead of condoms. "We need to get
boys to use condoms more consistently," said Anna-Barbara
Moscicki, a pediatrics professor at University of California-
Staci Syas, coordinator for the county's HIV and communicable-
disease prevention program, said public health officials are
working to quickly turn the tide of STDs. Last year, Syas used
a one-time $20,000 CDC grant to run an STD awareness campaign.
But, "We need a more systemic way of comprehensively
addressing it in our community," she said. "And we have not
had the resources to do that."