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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
CALIFORNIA: STDs Rise for Young Women: County Experts Appeal for Condom Use
Grace Rubenstein; Phillip Reese
November 30, 2011
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- San Francisco.

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."