Bay Area health officials urge precautions in light of STD increase
Britt Ehrhardt, Public Health Communications Officer
Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Office: (408) 792-5155
County of Santa Clara, CA. This Valentine’s Day, Bay Area health officials remind everyone who is sexually active to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and discuss screening for STDs with your health care provider.
Across the country and in California, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have been increasing for the past five years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California has the highest number of cases among all states. The County of Santa Clara follows the trend of the state and the nation: syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have all increased in the County of Santa Clara as compared to 2007.
Having an untreated STD can increase your risk of HIV infection, infertility problems, long-term pelvic/abdominal pain, and complications in pregnancy—as well as your risk of passing the infection on to others—which is why getting tested is so important. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can all be cured with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor or nurse.
“Have a conversation with your partner, get tested, and take precautions,” says Dr. Sarah Lewis, Assistant Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “If you do have an STD, you can take action to reduce the chance of giving it to others and help prevent long-term health problems. Be sure to take all the medication you are prescribed and follow your doctor’s instructions for helping your sexual partners get tested and treated as well.”
STDs are preventable and treatable. The following steps are options to help everyone reduce risk:
- Ensure correct and effective condom use for all sexual activity.
- Get tested regularly.
- Get vaccinated as a safe and effective way to prevent hepatitis A, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Limit your number of sex partners.
- Have open and honest conversations with your sexual partners.
- See a doctor right away if you have symptoms that could represent an STD.
However, it can be common to have an STD without experiencing any symptoms, another reason why regular testing is so important.
If you are sexually active, talk to your provider about being screened for STDs. Most STDs can be treated quickly and effectively by your provider.
To find out about free or low cost STD screening options through the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, call 408-792-3720 or go to gettestedscc.org. To find other free or affordable confidential testing sites near you, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
For more information about STDs in California, visit For more information about STDs in California, visit cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/STD.aspx.
You can also find more information on STD prevention and treatment at cdc.gov/std.
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About the Santa Clara County Public Health Department
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department focuses on protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, disease and injury prevention, and the promotion of sound health policy.
To learn more about how the Public Health Department serves the people who live, work, study, and play in Santa Clara County, please visit our website, sccphd.org, and follow us on Facebook, facebook.com/sccpublichealth.