Sacramento County leads state in teen STDs

5:45 PM, Nov 29, 2011   |    comments
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Sexually Transmitted Diseases are being more commonly referred to Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI by health organizations around the world. 

An infection is a germ, bacteria, parasite or virus in the body without any symptoms. A disease is the body’s response to the infection that is inside the body.

Venereal Diseases are being called STI because it is a more inclusive term for sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento County is at the top of a dubious list.

The California Department of Public Health released numbers obtained by health clinics on sexually transmitted diseases and Sacramento County had the highest number of gonorrhea cases.

For women aged 15-24, the county is the highest for gonorrhea and second highest for chlamydia.

The kicker is the pregnancy rate was down, meaning more teenage girls are using contraception, but not condoms.

"We have rings and we have patches and we have shots and they're very effective," said Dr. Michael Wilkes with the UC Davis Adolescent High Risk Clinic. "In fact, they're so effective that it sometimes sends the wrong message to women that they don't need to worry about some of the older methods of birth control such as condoms."

According to the data, four of every 100 women, ages 15-24 in Sacramento County, have one of those two sexually transmitted diseases. The rates are lower for young men: one of every 100.

"We've done a pretty bad job of convincing guys that they need to use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases," Wilkes said. "This is really a two-way street. The women can only go so far, lots of it has to do with guys."

The rates are a 12 percent jump from 2009's numbers.

Wilkes said it's more important now than ever for parents to have open discussions with their teens about sex.

"First is to assume that your teen is sexually active because the majority of them are," he said. "The second thing is to not be freaked out, because all of these diseases that we're talking about, chlamydia and gonorrhea, are treatable."

It's possible the county rates could be higher, as several health clinics have been closed due to budget cuts, according to Wilkes.

By Nick Monacelli,


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