'Shameful' Finding in California STD Report

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

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

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases in California reached a record high past year and, state health authorities said Monday.

More than two million new cases of all three infections were reported in the United States in 2016 - the most ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state recorded the highest number of chlamydia cases since reporting started in 1990, the agency said.

The diagnosis rate for chlamydia was 552.1 cases per 100,000 Californians, compared to 497.3 per 100,000 nationwide.

Those most commonly affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea are under 30 years old.

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".

Nationally, the rate is 148.5 per 100,000.

Gonorrhea is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24. While health officials encourage routine screening for STD's, they mention that emerging strains of gonorrhea are outpacing available antibiotics.

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The report noted 30 stillbirths stemming from cases of syphilis, the highest number in more than 20 years.

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.

Female cases of syphilis increased early 7-fold from less than 250 early-cases reported in 2012. While it may be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, it can also be passed on from a woman to her baby during childbirth.

In California, 75,450 gonorrhea cases were reported in 2017, marking it the highest number since 1988.

If left untreated, the STD can lead to loss of vision, brain disease, and hearing problems.

The health department's director, Dr. Karen Smith, urged sexually active people to use condoms and get tested regularly.

While the health department is now planning a public effort to spread awareness about the dangers of STDs and how to protect against them, the head of the state's STD Control Branch said budget issues likely played a role in the uptick of cases.

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