LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- In two weeks, Long Beach will have an AIDS walk on Nov. 14.
The goal is to raise money so that multiple centers and hospitals can help provide free HIV, STD and STI testing.
This is important to the Long Beach community because statistics show that there is an increase in sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
Long Beach has historically had some of the highest rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in California.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services puts out a surveillance report every year with data.
The last report was for 2019, but came out June of 2021 because officials were focused on the pandemic.
"We saw in 2019, increases of syphilis and high but stable rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea," said Emily Johnson, HIV and STI surveillance program specialist for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.
From 2015 to 2019 in Long Beach, chlamydia increased by 12%, gonorrhea by 59%, and congenital syphilis by 613%.
Congenital syphilis is when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy.
Johnson says women of color are being affected by syphilis more recently.
"From what we hear from our patients when we interview them, there's a lack of healthcare access around these women in the community. There's a lack of transportation, people may not be able to take time off of work and there's also a history of medical mistrust, which I think is our job as health care providers to kind of tackle those barriers," said Johnson.
STIs can increase your risk of becoming infected with HIV.
Anyone is susceptible to STIs, and resources are available if you need them.
"There's been a lot of people coming in without insurance because of losing their jobs, so we are one of the few clinics that offer free testing as well as free treatment," said Jess Nuñez, who works at the LGBTQ Center in Long Beach.
STI, STD and HIV data can be found on the longbeach.gov website. The 2020 annual report for long beach is in the works.