Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

STDs Hit Record High in California

STDs Hit Record High in California

California hit record numbers of new infections of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017, with almost 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, according to a report by the state health department and published Monday.

CDPH noted that 2017 was the "fifth consecutive year for increases in the number of infants born with congenital syphilis", and that there were 278 congenital syphilis cases, including 30 stillbirths, in California last year.

See the CDPH's breakdown of the data here.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates among African-Americans were almost five times higher than caucasians, CDPH found. African-Americans reported more than twice the rate for early syphilis than caucasians. Gonorrhea cases saw a 16 percent increase in the same time frame but affected twice as many men than women.

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Syphilis, up 20% to 13,605 cases-the highest number in California since 1987.

An undated photo shows a home test kit to detect sexually transmitted diseases.

'We've known how to control syphilis since early 1900s. "Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net", Dr. Jeffery Klausner, a professor of medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Associated Press. According to the new report, young female Californians comprised of the majority of cases.

The most reported sexually transmitted bacterial infections in the state, chlamydia and gonorrhea typically don't have symptoms but can cause problems including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, according to CDPH.

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The state health agency says it's working with local health departments and other organizations throughout the state to raise awareness about STDs. The officials also say that getting regular STD testing is significant as many people who get infected have no idea about it. The Pew Research Center likewise revealed in a 2016 report that 12 percent of American adults have used an online dating site. Many people with STD do not know they have it. Early detection and treatment can interrupt the steady climb of STD rates.

Bauer also suggested the rise in STDs may be a symptom of more general problems in areas such as the economically hard-hit San Joaquin Valley where people are struggling with poverty, substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness. This number is up from a year ago when Kern County had 6,344 reported cases.

"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said Department of Public Health Director Dr. Karen Smith.

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