Sexually transmitted diseases on the rise in Chico


Photo credit: Student Health Center

In a survey of 74 Chico State students, 34 percent responded either rarely or never practicing safe sex.

This could explain why in the 2014-2015 year, the Student Health Center Annual Report recorded over 3,000 lab test requests for chlamydia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughy 10 million new sexually transmitted infections occur among young people (ages 15-24) each year.

Top Lab Requests of the Student Health Center
Photo credit: Student Health Center


Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are the most common STIs among the college population. In a 2014 study conducted by the CDC, there were 1.4 million cases of chlamydia reported, making it the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the agency. According to the California Department of Public Health, in Butte County alone the number of gonorrhea cases skyrocketed over 600 percent from 2011-2014, going from 49 to 302 cases. The number of chlamydia cases increased roughly 135 percent from 2011-2014, going from 802 to 1,081 cases.

Graph of Chlamydia in Butte Counity
Photo credit: Michael Catelli
Graph of Gonorrhea in Butte Counity
Photo credit: Michael Catelli


“A Lot of STIs don’t have signs and symptoms,” said health and community services professor Lindsay Briggs. “They think they’re good to go and they have sex with other people, and that’s how STIs get spread.”

Dr. Lindsay Briggs
Lindsay Briggs, health and community services professor. Photo credit: Michael Catelli


Roughly 41 percent of Chico State respondents reported never testing for an STI and among those that have been tested, 27 percent get tested once a year. This may be shocking to some, because roughly 75 percent of respondents recorded having sex either a few times a week to a few times a month.

Approximately 1 in 3 of the people having sex either a few times a week to a few times a month have never been tested. In the 2014-2015 academic year, the Student Health Center had approximately 32,497 visits, and STI screening only accounted for 8 percent of those visits.

“Everyone should be getting tested if they are sexually active – every six months. Right now is the time when you have easy access to the testing; it’s cheap or free in most cases,” Briggs said.

According to Planned Parenthood, it is recommended to be tested regularly for STIs. Testing types and methods include a physical exam to check for any signs or symptoms and a blood, urine, tissue, cell or saliva sample.

Places to get tested near campus
Photo credit: Google


There are many places to go in Chico that are either affordable or even free. A few places close to campus include: the Student Health Center, Butte County Health Department and Chico Immediate Care Center. For testing and information, contact the Student Health Center at (530) 898 5241.

unnamedMichael Catelli

Michael Catelli can be reached at [email protected] or @michaelcatelli on Twitter.