Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

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

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

More than 300,000 cases of Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported: a 45 percent increase compared to five years ago, according to the state.

The California Department of Public Health said Monday that there were more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and early syphilis reported past year. In total, there were 75,560 cases in 2017, representing a 16 percent increase from the year before, making the rate 190.5 cases per 100,000 Californians.

Officials revealed that there were 30 stillbirths linked to congenital syphilis in 2017, the highest reported since 1995.

The health department's director, Dr. Karen Smith, urged sexually active people to use condoms and get tested regularly. Both campaigns drive the public to AHF's www.FreeSTDCheck.org website to learn more about the disease and find locations to access free STD testing and affordable care for the treatment of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis through AHF. "The internet allows for a broadening of sexual networks, and the broader that gets the more opportunity you have for sexually transmitted diseases to spread".

Gonorrhea is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24.

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California's Department of Public Health, Office of Public Affairs published a press release due to the alarming increase of STD's in the state of California.

Gonorrhea rates, however, were two-fold higher in males than females.

The state recorded the highest number of chlamydia cases since reporting started in 1990, the agency said. This number is up from previous year when Kern County had 6,344 reported cases. Being diagnosed with syphilis during pregnancy can also put the unborn baby at risk of having a low birth weight, being delivered early or death (stillbirth). On the other hand, syphilis can lead to neurologic issues, loss of hearing and blindness.

Officials blame lack of STD awareness, decreasing number of clinics and less frequent condom usage for the rates, the L.A. Times reported.

Early syphilis, which includes the primary, secondary and early latent stages of the disease, reached the highest number of cases since 1987, the agency found. Officials with the San Francisco Department of Public Health believe recent advances in HIV prevention drugs may have led to an increase in unprotected sex in some communities, possibly increasing STD rates.

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