California marks record high STD's in 2017

Pearl Mccarthy
May 16, 2018

Even worse for California health authorities, however, is this: untreated syphilis can result in stillbirths. This was the highest number the state recorded since reporting began in 1990. Young women have the highest rates of chlamydia, while men have the highest rates of syphilis and gonorrhea.

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

California has reached an all-time high in sexually transmitted diseases.

State officials are particularly concerned by a spike in stillbirths due to congenital syphilis. In 2017, Kern County had 59 cases, down from 75 in 2016.

The data, which was compiled by the California Department of Public Health, revealed chlamydia and gonorrhea to be most rampant among people under 30, with rates of chlamydia highest among young women. From 2016 to 2017, there were as many cases of congenital syphilis as in the previous 10 years combined. From 2014 to 2015, there had been a 12 percent increase in cases which infers that the number is rapidly increasing, surpassing the national average. If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems. That's "shameful", says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. He also noted that Thailand, Cuba, and Belarus almost eliminated infection in infants.

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'We've known how to control syphilis since early 1900s.

Officials blame lack of STD awareness, decreasing number of clinics and less frequent condom usage for the rates, the L.A. Times reported.

Dr Heidi Bauer, chief of the state health department's STD Control Branch, agreed that budget issues are part of the problem.

Read the full report from the California Department of Public Health here. The health department also looks forward to providing education regarding the risk of such STDs, and about screening and treatment.

"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.

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