AHF Lauds Gov. Brown for Signing California Sex Ed Bill (AB 329)

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AB 329, (Shirley Weber, D, San Diego), signed into law last night by
Governor Brown, requires sexual education in all California public
schools. Under current law, it is permissible, but not required.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
(AHF), the operator of the largest
non-government HIV testing program in California, today applauded
Governor Jerry Brown for signing Assembly
Bill 329
(Shirley
Weber
, D, San Diego), which would require sexual education in all
California public schools. Under current law, sex ed is permissible, but
not required. AHF was an active supporter of AB 329, and lobbied the
Legislature and Governor hard for enactment of this important public
health measure.

“Providing sexual education, including information about STDs and their
prevention, through our public schools ensures that the state is
reaching millions of young people at a formative stage in their lives
when this information can take hold. This allows them to make wise and
informed decisions as they engage in sexual activity when they are
older,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director, Public
Health Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We sincerely thank
Governor Brown for signing AB 329 into law.”

“At a time when STDs are at record levels throughout California, the
state’s current commitment to STD prevention and control is tragically
inadequate. By the time Californians become adults, there is little
capacity by the state or other institutions to educate people about STDs
and how to protect themselves and their loved ones from exposure,” said Michael
Weinstein
, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “From the larger
public health perspective, inattention to this crucial public health
matter also perpetuates this growing epidemic of STDs with increasing
costs to society. By signing AB 329, Governor Brown is paving the way
for educators and public health professionals to intervene with young
people before another generation is swept into this epidemic.”

STDs remain a large and persistent public health challenge for the
citizens of our state. The large number of cases makes STDs the most
commonly reported communicable disease in California. Exacerbating the
problem is the fact that because STDs are often asymptomatic, the burden
of the disease is far greater than the number of reported cases.

In addition, the prevalence of STDs are correlative to the incidence of
HIV. We continue to experience 5000 new infections of HIV every year,
which is attributable in part to the fact that we have been unable to
wrestle down the high rates of all STDs.

According to data from the Department of Public Health, incidence rates
of sexually transmitted diseases have increased dramatically in the last
five years of complete records. Chlamydia has risen by 17% from 2009 to
2013. During the same period, gonorrhea has increased by 63%. Primary
and secondary syphilis have smaller raw numbers but have grown at the
alarming rate of 76%.

The incidence rates of STDs are excessively high. According to the 2013
statistics, the gonorrhea rate for 15-19 year olds is 185.2 per 100,000.
Digging deeper into that age range, the rate for African American
teenagers is 1040.3 and, even worse for African American females, at
1397.5.

In a 2011 study, the DPH looked at HIV co-infection rates for people
with STDs based on 2009 data. High rates of HIV co-infection were
observed among male primary and secondary syphilis cases (43 percent)
and male gonorrhea cases (14 percent). The DPH also indicated that by
comparing HIV prevalence among STD cases, persons living with HIV who
have not been previously reported to the Office of AIDS might be
identified.

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS
healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care
and/or services to over 488,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in
the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For
more information, visit www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare.

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, +1.323.308.1833
or mobile 323.791.5526
ged.kenslea@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher
Johnson,
+1.323.960.4846 or mobile 310.880.9913
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org