Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

STDs reach all-time high in California

STDs reach all-time high in California

More than 2 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the wire service.

The number of reported sexually transmitted diseases in California has reached an all-time high, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

But California isn't alone; STDs have been on the rise over the past five years across the U.S. As the Times explains, "Experts blame the increases on falling condom use, fewer public health clinics and people having more sexual partners linked to dating apps".

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among people under 30, the report said, warning that rates of the diseases may be indicators of a struggling public health system. Chlamydia rates among girls and women were 60 percent higher than boys and men. As many as 218,710 cases of chlamydia were recorded, marking the highest rate since 1990. Early detection and treatment can interrupt the steady climb of STD rates.

"My goal is to eliminate congenital syphilis cases in LA County", said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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Female cases of syphilis increased early 7-fold from less than 250 early-cases reported in 2012.

Different stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) have different symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states. The officials also say that getting regular STD testing is significant as many people who get infected have no idea about it.

That latter stat is particularly troubling to public health officials given the long-term dangers of untreated syphilis, which can cause brain damage.

Transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery, congenital syphilis can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, blindness, hearing loss and birth defects, among other issues, according to CDPH.

Congenital syphilis led to 30 stillbirths in 2017, the highest since 1995 and the fifth consecutive year that number rose, the agency said. "Enhanced collaboration and partnership with local hospitals, community based organizations, and school districts throughout the County is key to help raise awareness, increase screenings and drive congenital syphilis rates down".

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