LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On the heels of the release of a damning report from the California Department of Public Health on Monday showing all-time high rates of STDs in the state, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today blasted the California Senate—and singled out Senator Richard Pan, who chairs the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health, for particularly harsh criticism—for rejecting a request for an additional $10 million for the STD control budget at the Department of Public Health.
“The same week the State of California was embarrassed worldwide for its record STD rates, news that was widely reported around the globe, the California Senate shows how completely tone deaf it is and how deeply the members have their heads in the sand,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Of particular concern is the number of cases of congenital syphilis, a preventable tragedy: 278 cases in 2017—including 30 stillbirths—up from 35 cases in 2012. The California Assembly will take up the measure next Thursday, and we hope they view this additional $10 million for STD control as a priority, approve the funding and show their counterparts in the Senate the right thing to do.”
Earlier this year, AHF, with its partner Essential Access Health, requested the $10 million increase in the STD control budget at the Department of Public Health because of the inexorable and soaring STD rates across the state. Today, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health rejected that request, leaving the state’s General Fund commitment to STD control at a paltry $1.6 million statewide. The chair of the subcommittee, a physician, refused to support the augmentation despite representing Sacramento County, which experienced a 17% increase in gonorrhea between 2016 and 2017 and is ranked 8th in the state for Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
2017 STD Rates in California
- Chlamydia, up 9% in 2017 in California from 2016 (218,710 cases, and the highest number since reporting began in 1990);
- Gonorrhea, up 16% in 2017 to 75,450 California cases, with 33% found among those under age 25; and
- Syphilis, up 20% to 13,605 cases—the highest number in California since 1987.
AHF has been promoting sexual health and STD screening through its innovative public awareness and billboard campaigns for the past several years in response to the overall skyrocketing rates of STDs nationwide, particularly among young people and men-who-have-sex-with-men. Last week in Los Angeles, it launched its “Gonorrhea Alert” billboard campaign, a nationwide effort to educate about a drug-resistant strain of the STD.
The “Gonorrhea Alert” billboard campaign is a follow up and parallels AHF’s syphilis prevention and treatment billboard campaigns that have included “Syphilis is Serious” billboards which launched earlier this year and the “Syphilis Explosion” outdoor advertising campaign which first starting running in 2014. That campaign was followed by AHF’s “Syphilis Tsunami” campaign which ran in Los Angeles in 2016.
To find locations for free STD/HIV screening, visit www.freestdcheck.org.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 900,000 individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us: @aidshealthcare.