FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2021
Contact: Amy Moy, 415.518.4465
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.”
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. healthcare system is estimated to be as much as $16 billion annually. Approximately $1 billion is spent annually statewide on health costs associated with STDs.
APLA Health restores dignity and trust within underserved communities by providing world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, support services, and HIV specialty care. Since 1983, APLA Health has remained steadfast in its commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. The agency is a multi-site operation includes eight Federally Qualified health Center (FQHC) locations, serving more than 18,000 people annually in Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous. We provide 20 different services including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impact the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.