Report finds cases of STDs reach all-time high in California

Henrietta Strickland
May 15, 2018

The number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in California reached a record high previous year and officials are particularly concerned by a spike in stillbirths due to congenital syphilis, state health authorities said 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. Women are more likely to get chlamydia than men, while people aged 25 or younger are more likely to get a STD than their older peers, the Health Department report shows.

In the last few years, Kern County has seen sexually transmitted disease rates soar, putting Kern's STD rates among the highest in the state.

However, Dr. James Watt, the chief of communicable disease control division for CDPH said that social media has played a vital role in helping many people discover anonymous or random sex partners. Los Angeles County alone saw congenital syphilis cases jump from eight in 2013 to 47 past year.

Klausner placed much of the blame for the overall STD spike on what he called the "decimation" of public health infrastructure since the 2008 financial crisis. "Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms".

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

Chlamydia can be transmitted by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex, affecting both men and women. More than half were reported among individuals under 25. With 13,605 recorded cases, early syphilis reached its highest rate since 1987. In 2017, Kern County had 59 cases, down from 75 in 2016.

Reported instances of syphilis also increased.

One of the most alarming is the number of stillbirths occurring as a result of congenital syphilis.

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.

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