Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department), in partnership with the Long Beach Comprehensive HIV Planning Group (HPG), launched the Long Beach HIV/STD Strategy. The strategy addresses HIV and the rising rates of STDs in the City and identifies tactics and sets goals to reverse the high rates.
“Our STD and HIV infection rates need to be taken seriously and approached with care and support from our Long Beach community,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Our goals to reduce HIV infections by 50% and STD infections by 20% are possible, and we will ensure that we have the resources in place to support these efforts.”
Long Beach has some of the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis rates in the State of California. The City’s rates are second-highest in the state for chlamydia and gonorrhea and third highest for syphilis. Since 2013, the chlamydia rate increased by 88%, syphilis by 143% and gonorrhea by 267%.
Many people are not aware of the long-term health impacts of unidentified and untreated STDs. Syphilis is considered the most serious because the infection can spread to the brain and cause permanent loss of vision or hearing. Gonorrhea is among the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) top three urgent threats for developing drug resistance. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial infections in Long Beach, and when left untreated they can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and lead to serious outcomes in women such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.
HIV also continues to be a serious threat in the City. As of December 31, 2017, 4,520 Long Beach residents were diagnosed and living with HIV. Nationally, the CDC estimated in 2016 that another 14 percent of people are living with HIV and are undiagnosed—this would indicate that more than 730 people in Long Beach are living with HIV and undiagnosed. Although the number of new HIV diagnoses declined by 33 percent overall, from 151 individuals in 2013 to 101 individuals in 2017, the rate of new infections in Long Beach (26 per 100,000) remains higher than in Los Angeles County (19 per 100,000) and the State of California (13 per 100,000).
The City has identified five goals for reducing HIV and STD infections and improving the health of those living with HIV and treating STDs:
- Reduce HIV and STD infections in Long Beach.
- Strengthen capacity to address HIV and STDs in Long Beach.
- Educate communities throughout Long Beach on HIV/STD prevention, testing and treatment.
- Increase access and engagement in care for HIV and STD treatment in Long Beach.
- Expand PReP and PEP access in Long Beach.
“This Long Beach HIV/STD Strategy was a collaborative effort between the HIV Planning Group members and the City’s Health Department,” said Kelly Colopy, Director, Health and Human Services Department. “The goals and strategies outlined in the plan are essential to a robust HIV/STD system of prevention and care across the city and, more specifically, those who experience the greatest burden of infection. The Health Department team truly appreciates the commitment and expertise of the HIV Planning Group as it was so essential to developing this roadmap for addressing HIV and STDs in our city.”
The Strategy report was prepared by the HPG in partnership with the Health Department. The HPG is the local body for the HIV and STD prevention and care program planning in Long Beach.
The full Strategy report can be viewed at http://bit.ly/HIV_STD_Strategy
. About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.
For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/
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. About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health
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