Fresno County had nearly 5,300 chlamydia reports in 2006, according to preliminary California Department of Health Services estimates. If the early data hold, the figures will not be finalized until next year, the county would have the state's highest chlamydia rate, at 581.9 cases per 100,000 residents compared to the state's rate of 363.5 cases. It would also represent an increase from 2005, when Fresno County had 545.2 cases per 100,000 residents, which was then the state's highest rate.
In 2002, the county received an $80,000 state grant to conduct a two-year chlamydia awareness campaign. The efforts appeared to be working, as chlamydia reports declined from 566.5 cases per 100,000 residents in 2002 to 546.8 cases per 100,000 people in 2003.
The county's large number of youths could contribute to the high numbers, said David Luchini, Fresno County Department of Health Services communicable-diseases division manager. Females ages 15-24 have the highest risk for contracting STDs, he said.
Since 2004, the county has also received $39,000 annually in state money to operate the STD Community Intervention Program, which educates teens, parents, health centers, and medical providers about STDs and prevention, said Luchini. Commercials about STDs have run in local cinemas, and pamphlets have been distributed to schools and health providers.
In addition to these state-county initiatives, the federal government has awarded Fresno County $50,000 per year to screen youths on intake in juvenile detention centers, said Luchini. Between July 2006 and June 2007, 579 of 982 females entering juvenile hall were screened for chlamydia, and 82 tested positive. Those who tested positive were treated and instructed about STD prevention, Luchini said.
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