Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach a New High in California, Reports CDPH

Health officials say record number of Californians diagnosed with STDs last year

STD Rate In California Hits New High: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis Worst Culprits

The Golden State has seen a almost 45 percent increase in three of the most serious STD's - syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea - since five years ago: 300,000 such cases in 2017.

The California Department of Public Health released its yearly report Monday, calling 2017 a record year for cases.

That latter stat is particularly troubling to public health officials given the long-term dangers of untreated syphilis, which can cause brain damage. Many people with STD do not know they have it.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are highest among people under age 30.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain, according to the CDPH. On the other hand, syphilis can lead to neurologic issues, loss of hearing and blindness. This was the highest number the state recorded since reporting began in 1990.

Officials revealed that there were 30 stillbirths linked to congenital syphilis in 2017, the highest reported since 1995. Young women made up the majority of chlamydia cases; men accounted for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

Dr Heidi Bauer, chief of the state health department's STD Control Branch, agreed that budget issues are part of the problem.

In Washington, federal and state funds provide $3.2 million per year for STD prevention, monitoring and control from 2017 to 2019. According to the CDC, most people with chlamydia don't have symptoms, or those symptoms may not appear for several weeks.

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She also partially blamed the funneling of patients away from public health services toward primary care physicians under the Affordable Care Act.

Klausner said that sexual health - and money for education about sexual health - isn't something people like to talk about.

Idaho health officials said the rise in STD rates paralleled the use of mobile dating apps. The cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea are more common among men.

Experts agreed that sex education in schools and programs in the community raising awareness and having a public discussion about the often stigmatized conditions.

"While there are advocates and champions for cancer, nobody is out there saying, 'I have gonorrhea and these are the best ways to treat it, '" Klausner told the Associated Press.

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

When it comes to gonorrhea, Kern is fourth in the state with 2,265 reported cases.

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