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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Everyone who is sexually active should get tested for STDs

Berkeley, California (Friday, April 19, 2019) - Anyone who is sexually active should take charge of their sexual health by getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases and learn more about prevention.

Young people and men who have sex with men are at particular risk and should get tested more often.

These recommendations from Public Health Officers from around the Bay Area come as rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea continue to grow, and syphilis has re-emerged as a significant public health concern. In California, 283 infants were born with syphilis in 2017.

Chlamydia is the most common STD reported among Berkeley residents. It’s easily preventable, but when untreated can lead to serious health problems such as infertility. Chlamydia rates almost doubled in Berkeley from 2013 to 2017, going from 405 cases to 742 cases per 100,000 people. Most of the reported youth cases are among young females.

“You may have a sexually transmitted disease even if you do not have symptoms” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley’s Health Officer. “We need more people to get tested regularly and encourage their partners to get checked as well."

“Young women get tested routinely when they seek reproductive health care and birth control,” she added, “but not enough young men seek the preventative care that they need.”

In Berkeley, there are many partners taking action alongside Berkeley Public Health to make sure everyone in the community has access to health care.

National statistics estimate that one out of every two young people will have a sexually transmitted disease before age 25.

There are many barriers to people obtaining health care and seeking preventative care including lack of health insurance, racial inequity, and stigma.

Fortunately, there are many STD prevention tools besides testing available locally. Young people can get vaccinated for human papillomavirus virus (HPV), which is the most common STD which can cause cervical cancer. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), consisting of taking one pill a day, effectively prevents HIV. Additionally, practicing safe sex, using condoms and talking to partners about sexual health, are tried and accurate methods of STD and HIV prevention.

In Berkeley, the Ann Chandler Public Health Clinic provides STD services including free to low-cost testing, vaccination, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. More information about health care services are at the Reproductive Sexual Health and Family Planning website.


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