News

STD Coverage + Care Act Passes Senate Health Committee

Yesterday, SB 306 advanced out of Senate Health. Joint statement from SB 306 Co-Sponsors on the need for California to adopt comprehensive STD prevention strategies.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2021
Contact:  Amy Moy, 415.518.4465
amoy@essentialaccess.org

APLA Health
Black Women for Wellness Action Project
Essential Access Health
Fresno Barrios Unidos
Los Angeles LGBT Center
San Francisco AIDS Foundation

“STD prevention is an equity issue. California’s STD crisis has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic with reduced testing and shortages in testing supplies – disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous and people of color, rural regions, California youth, and gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

“If left undiagnosed and untreated, STDs can lead to long-term health problems including infertility, cancer, blindness and increased risk for contracting HIV.

“The good news is that STDs are preventable. SB 306 seeks to close gaps in STD coverage and expand the tools and resources that advocates and health providers can use to expand access to evidence-based prevention strategies and improve health outcomes statewide.

“California’s STD rates are among the highest in the nation and have gone unaddressed for far too long. Bold action is urgently needed now.

“We applaud Dr. Pan for his commitment to health equity and his leadership in introducing a comprehensive and robust approach to STD prevention, and thank members of the Senate Health Committee for advancing SB 306 and moving this important measure one step closer to becoming law in California.”


Background

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have an STD. Long before the COVID-19 public health emergency, sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates reached historic highs and epidemic proportions in California and nationwide. The STD crisis has been exacerbated during the pandemic with reduced testing and shortages in testing supplies – disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous and people of color, California youth, and gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

The CDC estimates that there are approximately 20 million new STD infections each year. If left undetected and untreated, STDs can lead to serious, long-term health problems including infertility, cancer, and blindness. In 2018, more than 329 babies were born with congenital syphilis in California and there were 20 stillbirths associated with the disease. More than 100 babies were born with congenital syphilis in Los Angeles County alone in 2020. The cost of STDs to the U.S. health care system is estimated to be as much as $16 billion annually. Approximately $1 billion is spent annually statewide on health costs associated with STDs.