The goal is to raise money so more centers and hospitals can help provide free HIV, STD and STI tests.
This is important for the Long Beach community because statistics show that there is an increase in sexually transmitted infections or STIs.
Long Beach has historically had some of the highest incidences of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in California.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services publishes an annual monitoring report with data.
The last report was for 2019, but was released in June 2021 because officials were focused on the pandemic.
“We saw in 2019 increases in syphilis and high but stable incidences of chlamydia and gonorrhea,” said Emily Johnson, specialist in the HIV and STI monitoring program for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.
From 2015 to 2019 in Long Beach, chlamydia increased by 12%, gonorrhea by 59% and congenital syphilis by 613%.
Congenital syphilis is when a mother with syphilis transmits the infection to her child during pregnancy.
Johnson says colored women have been affected by syphilis recently.
“From what we hear from our patients when we interview them, there is a lack of access to health care around these women in the community. There is a lack of transportation, people may not be able to take time off work, and there is also a story with medical mistrust, which I believe is our job as healthcare providers to tackle these barriers, “Johnson said.
STIs can increase your risk of becoming infected with HIV.
All are susceptible to STIs, and resources are available if you need them.
“A lot of people have come in without insurance because of losing their jobs, so we are one of the few clinics that offer free testing as well as free treatment,” said Jess Nuñez, who works at the LGBTQ Center in Long Beach. .
STI, STD and HIV data can be found on the longbeach.gov website. The annual report for 2020 for Long Beach is underway.
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