STDs and HIV

HIV Counselor Perspectives
V3, N1, Feb 1993

Related Issues

STD Help Lines

The National STD Hotline, (800) 277-8922, provides basic information; referral to testing and treatment; and emotional support for people with STDs. Run by the Centers for Disease Control, the hotline operates Monday to Friday from 5 A.M. to 8 P.M. Pacific Time.

In California, the Department of Health Services, Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Branch, (916) 322-2087, offers referrals to local service providers during weekday business hours.

Women, People of Color and Young People

While STDs are more common in men than in women, the health consequences of STDs are more severe for women, especially young, sexually active and childbearing women and their offspring. [10]

Women often remain without symptoms of an STD for longer periods than men. During this asymptomatic period, disease can still progress, causing permanent damage, and STDs can be transmitted to partners. When undetected and untreated, STDs in women can result in ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, perinatal infection, sterility and even death. STDs can be transmitted during pregnancy from a woman to her fetus, or at birth from mother to child.

People of color constitute a disporportionate number of STD cases. During the mid-1980s, rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid among African Americans and Latinos increased dramatically.

Researchers have speculated that increased incidence of certain STDs has been caused by increased rates of drug use. The exchange of sex for drugs or money is a primary link between drug use, HIV and other STDs. [11] An outbreak of syphilis, gonorrhea and chancroid in the mid-1980s was directly influenced by the epidemic of crack cocaine. [12] High rates of syphilis among sexually active women are associated with cocaine use. [1]

Two-thirds of all STDs occur in people under age 25, with high infection rates among teenagers. Sixty percent of unmarried young men 15 to 19 years old, and 50% of unmarried young women in that age group are sexually active. Young people are also at significant risk for HIV infection because of high rates of unprotected sex and substance abuse.

STD Cases

Reportable Diseases in California, 1991

Chlamydia                       70,176
Gonorrhea                       43,719
AIDS                             8,182
Syphilis                        12,722
Chancroid                           47
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease      2,614
Non-gonococcal urethritis        7,820

HIV Counselor Perspectives, V3N1, 2/93
[email protected] (Thu Nov 10 04:15:29 1994)