California marks record high STD's in 2017

California marks record high STD's in 2017

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

Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported STDs in the United States, with more cases than syphilis but fewer cases than chlamydia. As The Sacramento Bee reports, "Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while men account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases". Gonorrhea cases saw a 16 percent increase in the same time frame but affected twice as many men than women. The report found that there were 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis in 2017, with a total of 278 congenital syphilis cases.

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

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. Symptoms include abnormal discharge and a burning sensation during urination, though these signs may not appear for weeks.

Common among young people aged 15-24, gonorrhea can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat.

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

The statistics show chlamydia and gonorrhea rates were highest among those under age 30.

As students are warned in high school health classes, sexually transmitted diseases can have unsafe consequences.

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. This was the highest number the state recorded since reporting began in 1990. On the other hand, syphilis can lead to neurologic issues, loss of hearing and blindness. 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). With 13,605 recorded cases, early syphilis reached its highest rate since 1987.

Kern County has the second highest number of babies born with congenital syphilis, according to the data. 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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