Reported STDs Reach Record High in California

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

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

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.

As per the report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), over 300,000 cases of gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia have been reported in the year 2017, which is a 45 percent jump in such cases from the data collected five years ago. Thirty-three percent of cases involved people under 25 while rates among men were twice as high as women. With 13,605 recorded cases, early syphilis reached its highest rate since 1987. Young women made up the majority of chlamydia cases; men accounted for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

Adding to the problem, says Dr. Heidi Bauer, chief of the state health department's STD Control Branch, is the fact that many Californians have been steered away from getting their health treatment at public clinics, and into private practice via the Affordable Care Act. "Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms".

Therefore, in order to educate people and spread awareness about the alarming risks of STD, the health officials are now working with schools, community groups as well as youth organisations across California.

If chlamydia and gonorrhoea are left untreated then it can result in infertility, chorionic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy.

A table depicts the number of gonorrhea cases reported in L.A. County from 2012 to 2017.

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This only counts reported cases, meaning those who were officially diagnosed with an STD. As it takes 10 to 30 years after infection to develop, most people seek treatment before they develop tertiary syphilis. This is the highest number reported since 1995. This represents an average infection rate of 34.3 cases per 100,000 Californians, higher than the national average of 8.7 per 100,000. A third of all cases were reported among individuals under 25.

'For California to have a steady increase in congenital syphilis is shameful, ' said Dr Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles.

If left untreated, syphilis can cause very serious health complications, according to CDC.

Early syphilis cases rose 20 percent between 2016 and 2017. In women, it can also be passed to the baby, called congenital syphilis and can result in stillbirth, early death, or long-term infection.

Another 278 babies were born with the infection, which can cause severe health problems including premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, blindness and hearing loss.

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