Stanislaus County Board Approves Funds To Address Increasing STD Cases
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the county Health Service Agency's request for $800,000 to combat the "soaring" number of reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases, the Modesto Bee reports. From 2002 to 2004, the reported incidences of chlamydia increased from 244 to 314 cases per 100,000 residents and the incidences of gonorrhea increased from 41 to 66 cases per 100,000.
Health officials said that there were 536 cases of gonorrhea reported last year, more than half of which were in patients ages 15 to 24. About 1,832 cases of chlamydia were reported last year in Stanislaus County. According to the Bee, similar increases in STD incidences have been reported statewide.
Under a plan by county Public Health Officer John Walker, some of the funds will be used to alert health providers and increase efforts to have cases reported so people can be treated.
HSA will encourage reporting and treatment by offering same-day and walk-in appointments two days per week, offering evening appointments and providing treatment based on a sliding pay scale.
The board also approved $61,000 to pay for a public health physician to investigate cases and identify sexual partners of infected people. HSA Associate Director Cleopathia Moore said the agency will likely have the services in place within the next two months.
Although the board voted unanimously to approve the HSA funding, Supervisor Jim DeMartini said, "I don't see a crisis here."
In addition, Supervisor Bill O'Brian said the county might have more pressing health issues, including heart disease. "It's hard to commit $800,000 to something that affects a small part of our community. I am struggling with it."
Supervisor Tom Mayfield said health officials should take a strong message to schools and tell teen girls that a chlamydia infection can make them infertile (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 3/23).