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STDs on the rise in San Diego

 April 18, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday April 18th


rising STD rates in San Diego

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Today is the deadline to file your taxes. If you haven’t filed yet, you’ll need to electronically file or postmark your tax filings by today, or file for an extension. However an extension for time to file is NOT an extension for time to pay. Taxpayers must estimate their tax liability and pay any amount due today to avoid penalties and interest.

Normally tax day is on april 15th. Today marks the third year in a row the internal revenue service has extended the filing date for federal tax returns.


The San Diego Padres won a 2-1 pitchers’ duel Sunday and split their season opening home series against the Atlanta Braves. The Padres are now 6 and 5 on the young season and welcome the Cincinnati Reds to town for a 3-game series that begins tonight.


After an unseasonably cool week last week, a slight warming trend will continue today – but breezy conditions will continue and temperatures aren’t expected to break 70 through Thursday. On Friday, the National Weather Service is predicting a strong pacific storm with windy, colder weather and a chance for showers. The weekend will bring dry and warmer conditions.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

STDs have been on a concerning rise across the country for years, and San Diego County is no exception. Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are two and three times what they were in the year 2000. And syphilis has seen an even greater resurgence.

As Jake Harper of inewsource reports, these infections don’t affect all populations the same.

If you look at a graph of the latest STD figures in San Diego County, you’ll see they dip in 2020. There was a new pandemic. People were keeping away from each other more than usual, so maybe fewer people got infections.

But Dr. Winston Tilghman, who manages STD prevention for the county, says those numbers are probably a fluke.

TILGHMAN: “I don't think that's indicative of the long-term trends that we can expect,”

Remember, clinics closed or reduced outpatient services in 2020, and people didn’t go to the doctor as much. And doctors may have written prescriptions to treat STDs without actually ordering lab tests, which is how the county tracks STDs.

TILGHMAN. So I imagine that the numbers in 2020 are related to decreased testing. And so it probably underestimates the actual burden of STIs in 2020,

When the 2021 data is released, Tilghman expects those numbers to return to pre-COVID levels.

Amid these historically high rates of STDs, some people are at greater risk than others. People of color. Men who have sex with men, and transgender women are all more likely to contract these infection.

Eric Walsh-Buhi, a researcher at San Diego State University, says those disparities are due to social determinants of health.

WALSH-BUHI: social determinants of health are those things in daily life that help keep you healthy or make you sick…things like poverty and substance abuse, addictions lack of access to healthcare, health insurance as well as things like housing and housing discrimination,

Given the rising STD rates, Walsh-Buhi called for more public health funding.

San Diego County has seen an increase in funding in recent years, but so far it hasn’t stopped the growth. Meanwhile, nationwide these diseases cost billions of dollars a year, while public health funding for STDs hasn’t substantially changed. Walsh-Buhi says that’s partly because of stigma.

WALSH-BUHI: Another thing we need to be fighting is that stigma of even talking about it and making it a public health priority.”

HIV shows a different trend. In the last two decades, the numbers of new cases have fallen in San Diego County.

WAGNER: However, among some groups, the incidence is still holding steady.

Gabriel Wagner is an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health. As with other STDs, HIV affects marginalized groups more.

WAGNER: gay and bisexual men the most and black and Latinex. Folks also and transgender women.

People in these groups may not have easy access to prevention services such as PrEP - a daily medication used to prevent HIV infection. And again, stigma can keep people from getting tested and treated.

While HIV isn’t curable like bacterial STDs are, there are medications to keep the virus at bay. And despite the challenges, Wagner pointed to a success story with one of his patients. He first saw the man in 2018 when he began having complications from HIV.

WAGNER: Several years back, someone had told him of the diagnosis, but he had decided to put it out of his mind and in doing so, waited until things got really bad and he had to be hospitalized.

The man only spoke Spanish, and Wagner says the language barrier – and stigma – probably kept him from sticking with treatment. But Wagner’s Hispanic and speaks Spanish.

WAGNER: there was a nice cultural connection that I oftentimes take for granted.

He says that connection allowed him to help. The man’s HIV infection is under control now, and he’s doing well.

For KPBS, I’m inewsource reporter Jake Harper.

TAG: inewsource is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS.


The San Diego Association of Governments is blaming faulty equipment for losing nearly two-million-dollars in toll revenue last year. inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman has more.

For months, several toll stations on the South Bay Expressway were disconnected as crews tried to repair aging equipment. That meant SANDAG failed to collect one-point-eight million dollars.

Earlier this year CEO Hasan Ikhrata said senior managers who no longer work at the agency knew about the problem but failed to report it.

“I take full responsibility for any screwup like this.”

SANDAG is now monitoring daily reports and will soon replace the toll equipment. For KPBS, I’m inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman.

ANCHOR TAG: inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.


The latest jobs numbers for California show unemployment dropped for the month of March. It’s down to 4-point-9 percent. kpbs's debbie cruz has more.

new numbers released friday show the number of unemployed people in the nation's most populous state dipped below 1 million for the first time since the start of the pandemic. california employers added 60-thousand-200 jobs in march.. despite the strong job growth, experts say a labor shortage is making it difficult for businesses to keep up with strong consumer demand. california's labor force is made up of people who either have a job or are looking for work. the labor force has grown in the past year. but it is still nearly 400-thousand people fewer than it was before the pandemic. debbie cruz, kpbs news.


The state’s largest virtual education job fair this year is happening this Thursday. It’s sponsored by a local university offering more than just interviews.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has more.

Alliant International University has compiled recruiters from sixty K-12 school districts across the state. The 6th Annual California Education Jobs and Career Fair has opportunities for teachers and school psychologists, counselors, and administrators.

There will also be resources explaining the latest changes to credentialing requirements.

Dr. Tatiana ree-va-de-NEY-ra is with Alliant’s School of Education. She says filling these positions is critical for students and the applicants who could support them.

“it’s not a job, it’s a profession…you’re not just leaving papers at on a desk at 3:30…you take it home with you. They see the best way to make sure society succeeds have to make sure you take care of the next generation to come.”

The online job fair is Thursday afternoon starting at 3:30. For more information go to ALLIANT-dot-EDU. MGP KPBS News.


As the job market heats up, the Navy is offering large bonuses for new sailors.

KPBS Military Reporter Steve Walsh has the story.

Starting this month the Navy will offer a $25,000 signing bonus for any potential sailor who agrees to ship out to boot camp by the end of June, says Commander David Yoon. with Navy recruiting Southwest.

“The unemployment is being driven down and there's a competition to try and get talent in the front door whether you're Walmart, UPS, Amazon, any number of other companies as well as small businesses.”

The Navy continued to meet its recruiting goals even during the pandemic. But as companies offer higher starting salaries and better benefits, the Navy is falling behind. Several bonuses have sprung up. Naval aviation is offering up to $175,000 to retain some pilots. Steve Walsh KPBS News


Coming up.... More people want electric cars now, but is there enough supply in the state to meet growing demand?

“So, we really have no vehicles on the lot when it comes to electrified, because they're actually buying them before they even get here.”

An electric car shortage. We’ll have that story, and more, next, just after the break.

Federal climate researchers say last month was the fifth warmest March on record. They say cooler ocean conditions helped keep global temperatures from breaking records.

KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has more.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that a persistent La Nina condition in the center of the Pacific Ocean moderated March’s average temperature. But the temperature remained above average and officials predict the average temperature for the year is still expected to be among the ten warmest. NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo says the ocean temperatures in the Pacific have a global impact.

“In comparison with other year when there’s an El Nino the temperatures during the La Nina years tend to be slightly cooler. So that’s what we’re seeing right now.”

Federal officials say last month was the 46th consecutive march with a global temperature above last century’s average.

Erik Anderson KPBS News


If you are in the market for a new electric vehicle in California right now, you're definitely not alone. With gas prices soaring to record levels and the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many prospective car buyers say an EV is the way to go.

But are there enough electric vehicles at California’s car dealerships?

From KCRW, ROBIN ESTRIN has more.


San Diego Comic Fest bills itself as the “friendly, intimate comic convention experience.” And this year it can also boast that it's back in person starting April 21.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview.

The last in person San Diego Comic Fest was in March of 2020 just days before the pandemic shut everything down. The fest now returns to an in person show and will celebrate the belated 100th birthday of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.The fest also has a new president in Little Fish Comic Book Studio’s Alonso Nunez. He sees Comic Fest as a low key complement to the mega pop culture convention of Comic-Con.

ALONSO NUNEZ: I love Comic-Con, but for us, it's really a chance to kind of humanize the medium, to get those just personable stories from these creators, old and new, longtime creators, emerging creators, local creators that are here in San Diego.

San Diego Comic Fest runs next Thursday through Sunday at the Four Points by Sheraton on Aero Drive. Tickets can be purchased in advance or even at the door.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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The rates of sexually transmitted diseases are trending upward, following a national trend more than two years into the pandemic. Experts are calling for more funding for STD prevention. Meanwhile, SANDAG lost nearly $2 million dollars in toll money last year. Plus, are there enough electric vehicles in California to meet growing demand as gas prices spike?