Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved her motion on addressing the ongoing sexually transmitted disease (STD) crisis in the County:
“In the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, it is important to remember the other pressing public health needs in the County that we must face,” shared Chair Solis. “Our County is in the middle of an ongoing STD crisis that has seen cases here skyrocket. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, the rise in STDs is heavily associated with many social determinants of health leading to many of the same communities hit disproportionately by the pandemic bearing the brunt of this crisis as well. With this motion, we can make sure that the relevant agencies work together with community partners and healthcare organizations to coordinate a plan of action to address this crisis and put resources behind it.”
Los Angeles County is in the midst of an ongoing STD crisis that has seen rates of syphilis and congenital syphilis spiking since 2018. Recent data from the County’s Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP) show a 450% increase in syphilis rates among females and a 235% increase in males in the last decade. Congenital syphilis rates have increased by 1300% in less than a decade, with 113 congenital syphilis cases reported in 2020 compared to 88 in 2019 and just 10 in 2010.
The motion approved today directs the County’s Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Department of Health Services, Department of Mental Health, the Alliance for Health Integration, and the Chief Executive Office’s Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ARDI), to report back with an updated plan of action to address this crisis as well as create a public-facing STD dashboard to track the County’s progress towards reducing STD rates. In addition, the motion also directs the Chief Executive Office Legislative Affairs team to advocate with the Governor, State Legislature, the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Health and Human Services, and Congress for additional federal and state resources to combat the STD crisis, support the initiatives detailed in Public Health’s report back, identify STD-related legislative and budget proposals to help alleviate the crisis, support the County’s STD public health infrastructure, expand access to STD testing and treatment, and improve community education.
To view the full motion, click here.