May 21, 2018

Record Number of STDs Diagnosed in California In 2017

16 May 2018, 12:30 | Winifred Adams

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

Reported STDs Reach Record High in California

California recorded more than 300,000 cases of sexually transmitted disease in 2017, a 45 percent jump from five years earlier. The report found that there were 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis in 2017, with a total of 278 congenital syphilis cases.

The findings from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) show significant spikes in common STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia between 2000 and 2017 (chlamydia rates rose 9% compared to 2016, reaching an all-time high among both males and females, while gonorrhea infections rose 16% from 2016).

Rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have been rising nationally for several years. As many as 218,710 cases of chlamydia were recorded, marking the highest rate since 1990.

Thirty-three percent of gonorrhea cases in California were in people under age 25.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.

"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer. Someone who depended on public clinics for STD screening and treatment may not want to discuss it with their doctor, or may not have a doctor at all, she said. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it". 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.

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Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurological problems.

The Pew Research Center reported that the number of adults using dating sites and apps has almost tripled since 2013.

Officials are also increasing efforts to follow up on cases, especially those involving pregnant women with syphilis, she said.

Idaho health officials said one of the reasons for a sharp increase in STD rates could be that some dating apps can "facilitate anonymous sexual encounters, making partner notification, testing, and treatment for those with or exposed to STDs complicated and inadequate to reduce the spread of the disease".

CDPH is collaborating with local health departments and organizations throughout the state to raise awareness.

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