San Francisco testing centers work hard to fight STD rates
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As sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates continue to rise in California, STD testing centers in San Francisco are attempting to increase their efforts to combat these infections. According to the San Francisco Examiner, local clinics have begun checking patients' throats and rectums for signs of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not consider these to be necessary steps.
Some clinics are going even further to curb the growing STD numbers. For example, one clinic is using grant money to send high-risk individuals text messages when it's time for them to get a check up. The texts take a light-hearted and humorous tone about a rather serious issue in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding STDs. The messages say things like, "Syphilis, like the '80s, is back," to encourage people to visit local testing centers.
Susan Philip, the health department’s director of STD prevention, told the news source that 1,278 cases of gonorrhea have been reported so far this year, compared with 1,015 from this same time in 2011. This is particularly concerning, considering that reports have shown that gonorrhea is becoming increasingly resistant to the drugs that are used to treat it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is currently only one antibiotic left that successfully combats this STD. Gonorrhea can cause a person to become infertile, and may be life-threatening if left untreated.
"We're really trying to have a comprehensive approach to make sure HIV and STDs are seen as a comprehensive unit," Philip said, quoted by the San Francisco Examiner. "We do have concerns, and we want the rates to go down."
Rates of chlamydia and syphilis are also on the rise in California, suggesting that any STD prevention programs have to focus on a wide rage of sexual infections.
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