By Wendy Ngo –

Most people in Sacramento who have an STD do not know it. Sexually transmitted diseases are passed during pregnancy, through sexual activities, sharing needles, skin-to-skin contact, or breast feeding. Many STDs show no signs or symptoms. The only way to really know is to be tested.

STDs aren’t always easy to cure and if left untreated can leave permanent damages. 25%-40% Gonorrhea carriers also have Chlamydia. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can turn into pelvic inflammatory disease if it is left untreated. This can damage a woman’s chances of getting pregnant or kill all chances at worst. Untreated Gonorrhea can also cause long-term problems for men. Commonly Epididymitis, an infection and inflammation of the ducts that move semen from the testicles. This may cause sterility. Infections can also spread to other parts of the body through bloodstream and damage organs. Untreated Chlamydia in men may cause continuous discomfort, pain, and sterility.

Majority of cases for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Early Syphilis in Sacramento County were found in ages 15-25 in both males and females. The highest STD rates were found in African Americans, followed by Caucasians, Latina/Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. STDs have gradually increased in teens. Studies show that they are more aware of preventing pregnancies yet STDs have increased. Teenagers are not as worried about getting an STD as they should be.
The rates for STDs in Sacramento has undoubtedly risen dramatically. In 2008, Sacramento County was in 5th place for STDs in California. Now it has risen to 2nd. Cases were found most in persons aged 15-25. There are at least 5000 people in Sacramento County with HIV/AIDS. Only about 1500 of them know it. The rest are not being treated.

Sacramento City Unified School District do provide their schools with Sex Education but with recent budget cuts, STD prevention has lowered. Students, especially teens, need to be informed about getting tested. Many do not have the information or access to a local and free testing clinic. Even if someone isn’t interested in the information, they may know someone who needs it. There are very few organizations left being funded that will outreach to the youth in Sacramento.

It is essential that Sacramento communities understand how to prevent and protect themselves from getting or spreading AIDS/STDs. Getting treated earlier is better. Sacramento civilians can help stop the spreading by informing their children about the chances and risk of getting an STD. If adults are not informing youth, the youth must inform one another. If you or someone you know want to be tested or want to be treated, there are organizations like Planned Parenthood that are free and confidential.