SACRAMENTO, Calif.--( Today AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) hailed the California Legislature's Budget Conference Committee for its approval late yesterday of a $5 million increase in state budget funding for STD prevention efforts, a steep increase from the previous STD prevention allocation of just $1.6 million. The full California legislature is expected to act on the budget recommendation early next week, which advocates believe has the support of Governor Jerry Brown.
The $5 million funding increase comes after domestic and international health agencies reported earlier this year that rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have continued to rise annually, particularly among gay men, where syphilis is now hitting rates not seen since before the start of the HIV epidemic. In addition, the spread of drug-resistant strains of infections including gonorrhea and syphilis threatens the efficacy of medicines commonly used for treatment, with young people aged 15-24 and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continuing to be at greatest risk for infection.
"We thank the Budget Conference Committee for approving this increase in funding and urge the full Legislature to act favorably on, and Governor Brown to sign, a budget reflecting this much-needed $5 million increase in STD prevention funding," said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. "At a time when STDs are dramatically increasing-particularly among young people and gay men-this should prove to be money well spent in helping to break the chain of new infections of HIV and other STDs in California."
According to CDC estimates, there are 20 million new STD infections each year in the United States, costing the healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs. The agency also reports there are more than 110 million total sexually transmitted infections in U.S. men and women.