FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07-23-2021
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Bienestar Human Services to host a Call to Action Forum on Soaring STI Cases in L.A.’s Communities of Color
LOS ANGELES (July 26, 2021) According to a 2019 Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) report published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the United States has reached a new all-time high in infection rates for the 6th consecutive year; a reality that runs almost parallel in Los Angeles County according to local experts.
In reaction to the recent STI reports, Bienestar Human Services will host a Call to Action Online Forum for policymakers and community members to spotlight communities of color in Los Angeles County who are disproportionately affected by the STI epidemic. A Call to Action: Soaring STD Cases in L.A.’s Communities of Color will take place on Monday, July 26th at 2pm PDT on Zoom.
Sonali Kulkarni, Medical Director of the Division of HIV/STD Programs for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, will present an STD snapshot highlighting key findings from STD case surveillance data reported to LA’s Division of HIV and STD Programs through the end of 2019, and how this continued increase in STDs impacts LA’s communities of color.
“Health disparities within communities of color on a national level and within Los Angeles County are rising at an alarming rate,” says Robert Contreras, CEO of Bienestar Human Services, “We need to have an open dialogue about the barriers to health care that our most at-risk communities face.”
According to a 2019 Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) report from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, early-stage syphilis rates were the highest among Pacific Islanders and the African Americans; and since 2012 the number of congenital syphilis has increased over 1,300 percent, where Latinx females (57 percent) represent the majority of mothers of infants with the STD.
At Clinica Bienestar, a Bienestar health clinic specializing in STI testing and treatment, over 87 percent identified as Latinx or Hispanic, 74 percent were uninsured, and 47 percent were Spanish monolingual or Spanish preferred.
“What we are seeing at Bienestar is a need for culturally relevant health services and peer-to-peer counseling,” says Contreras. “In order for us to reach health equity for all, we must continue to support health services that reach communities of colors in need.