“STDs in L.A. County are skyrocketing. Officials think racism and stigma may be to blame.” This is an article I don’t recommend you read. I read it for you and suffered through it on your behalf. It’s poorly written and obfuscates its own point with storytelling. Anyway, I just say that because reading it was frustrating but I wanted to understand. I can only imagine that a tiny number of people who click on it will get to the bottom having read every word. First it tackles the stigma aspect of the headline. “Many say the silence around sex plays a big role in young people’s high rates of STDs.
Many feel uncomfortable walking into an STD clinic or talking to their partners about safe practices.” I can understand that. Children are still taught not to have sex before marriage and taught in school that they should have “safe sex” which implies that there is a certain element of danger to sex. Subconsciously these two things play a role in how sex is viewed by adolescents. So if the individuals with the disease aren’t seeking treatment and are ashamed, not only of having sex but of having a sexual disease, then it makes sense.
Second in the headline is the aspect of racism. In that case I won’t even repeat how the article ties that in since they just aren’t successful. What it really amounts to is poverty and a lack of education which happen to be higher in blacks in LA County but, because the author thinks there is institutionalized racism then it is race that is the factor. I don’t buy that but will agree with poverty and education being at issue. They can’t afford, or aren’t educated enough, to seek out the treatment.
The article states, “Gay and bisexual men make up the vast majority of new syphilis cases. In L.A. County, syphilis rates among African American women are six times higher than white women and three times higher than Latina women.” But it doesn’t address homosexuality as a cause in the article, just race.
The article also states, “Some blame underfunding of STD prevention programs, as well as falling condom usage. There’s also speculation that people are having sex with more partners because of hookup apps.”
I came away thinking that they actually have no idea why this increase is happening. But, like government does they feel they have to do something about it because the numbers are up. Statistics are funny things though. Without knowing causation they are just numbers and sometimes can just represent a random and organic increase due to random factors that won’t repeat. But government will do something.
It used to be illegal to give someone an STD knowing you had one and having not told them so. But that law (in California) has changed.
Officials are trying to get high schoolers more comfortable talking about sex. The hope is that an open dialogue will make them more likely to seek out condoms and STD testing, and eventually reduce the spread of disease.