Riverside County health officials next month will continue a campaign initiated earlier this summer to highlight concerns about an increasing number of syphilis infections and how residents can take steps to prevent getting sick.
The highest incidence of syphilis contractions has been in the Coachella Valley, but the county’s public health officer emphasized that the sexually transmitted disease is “a scourge anywhere in Riverside County.”
“Different communities deserve unique solutions, and we expect to have the same type of lively discussion and debate at the next two meetings as we develop and finalize an action plan,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser said.
Public meetings are set for Sept. 10 at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert campus, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, and on Sept. 11 at the Community Action Partnership of Riverside County administrative office, 2038 Iowa Ave. Both meetings begin at 1:30 p.m.
The Riverside County Syphilis Community Collaborative was announced in early June to develop strategies for raising awareness about disease risks and how residents can protect themselves.
Syphilis cases have surged in the Coachella Valley in the last couple of years, with roughly 32 infections per 100,000 people. In Palm Springs, the rate is considerably higher — 100 per 100,000, according to county Department of Public Health statistics.
Countywide, the rate is 12 per 100,000. Nationally, it’s 8.7 per 100,000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
The agency stated that the majority of cases can be attributed to unprotected intimate contact between homosexuals, though figures have been rising in the heterosexual population, too.
The highest rates of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the western U.S. have been recorded in California and Nevada over the last few years, statistics show.
More information about the forums in September is available at www.rivcoph.org, or by calling (951) 358-5930.
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