Monterey County Herald (01.08.2014)
The Monterey County Herald reported that California’s Monterey County Health Department (MCHD) released an STD study that indicated syphilis incidence increased 56 percent in the county from 2011 to 2012, and gonorrhea incidence more than doubled during the same time period. According to MCHD Health Officer Dr. Edward L. Moreno, Monterey County STD rates rose far faster than US rates published by CDC in the 2012 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Report, which posted an approximately 10-percent increase nationwide in syphilis and a 4-percent increase in gonorrhea incidence. Moreno stated that the disparity between US and Monterey County rates presented an opportunity to increase awareness and prevention education with high-risk populations.
The Monterey County STD study indicated higher risk for blacks and gay men and revealed that nearly half of 2012’s STD diagnoses occurred among young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. Moreno emphasized that abstinence was an option for preventing STDs, and young people who chose to be sexually active should use condoms, which have proved to be effective in preventing STDs. He urged all potentially exposed people to seek treatment for themselves and their partners. Although syphilis and gonorrhea could present symptoms such as “burning sensations when urinating or abnormal genital discharge,” they often caused no symptoms.
Moreno stressed the importance of dialogue between doctors and patients in preventing STD transmission. He encouraged physicians to ask their patients about their sexual history, and urged patients to discuss STDs with their doctors without shame. The county’s preliminary 2013 STD report predicted that the syphilis rate would remain stable, and gonorrhea incidence would double again.