For Immediate Release:
PASADENA AND SAN GABRIEL VALLEY – Since 2011, Los Angeles County has seen a 96% increase in early syphilis diagnoses, and in 2018 alone, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley (PPPSGV) has diagnosed more than 50 people with the sexually transmitted infection (STI).
In order to help combat and treat these rising numbers, PPPSGV will roll out a new program for syphilis treatment starting Monday, November 12. “Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley strives to create access to regular STI screenings, treatment, and preventive education,” says Sheri Bonner, President and CEO of PPPSGV. “The increased rate of sexually transmitted infections in the county is alarming and demonstrates that not enough people are getting the information and care they need to protect their health. Ensuring that people receive stigma-free, timely and quality health care is an essential tool to prevent STIs.”
Planned Parenthood’s role in the treatment of syphilis will include increased screenings and providing in-clinic medications such as injections and oral antibiotics. These services can be found at the Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley Health Centers in Eagle Rock, Alhambra, Pasadena, and Glendora. Those affected may also seek preliminary help from a Los Angeles County STI nurse Monday through Friday 9am-5pm at (213) 368-7441.
There are currently no Los Angeles County STI clinics in the organization’s service area, which makes Planned Parenthood’s new program all the more essential to public health. “With no LA County STI clinics in our service area, PPPSGV must take the lead by providing the cure for this infection and curbing the spread of disease in our community,” says Dr. Noah Nattell, Medical Director at PPPSGV. “At Planned Parenthood, we have increased our screening for this disease, offering a blood test for all patients, and have noted that our area is not immune from the rising numbers of infection. Luckily, syphilis can be cured with antibiotics.”
“Most patients we screen for STIs also get screened for syphilis, but when patients test positive we have to refer them out. We would rather be able to treat these patients ourselves,” said Tanya Parker, Director of Center Operations at PPPSGV. The Pasadena Health Department is also interested in having Planned Parenthood treat patients, and they plan to refer patients to them.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection which can cause birth defects and lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or even neonatal death. As of September 2018, it is the Los Angeles Department of Public Health’s goal to eradicate congenital syphilis within five years.
ABOUT PLANNED PARENTHOOD PASADENA AND SAN GABRIEL VALLEY
Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley (PPPSGV) was founded in 1933 and is one of the oldest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country. Our mission is to ensure broad public access to sexual and reproductive health care through medical services, education, and advocacy. 85 years ago, our organization saw 295 patients in our first year. Last year, over 33,000 unduplicated patients walked through our doors for sexual and reproductive health care services. In the same year, more than 10,000 people received accurate information from our health education programs in area schools, colleges, and community nonprofits.
Our service area extends from Glendora to Glendale, and from the San Gabriel Mountains to the San Bernardino freeway, home to 24 communities and a diverse population of 1.4 million people. This year, local residents will receive high-quality care at our four health centers through 65,000 patient visits. 95% of the health care services we provide are preventive, including life-saving cancer screenings, all FDA-approved methods of birth control, HIV prevention (PrEP and PEP), annual exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and more.
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