California marks record high STD's in 2017

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

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

"We have a lot of folks who aren't having sex with condoms, I think that's a really easy way to look at these numbers", said Butte County Public Health Education Specialist Cassie Miracle. This was the highest number the state recorded since reporting began in 1990. Rates of chlamydia are higher for young women, and syphilis and gonorrhea are most prevalent among men. According to the new report, young female Californians comprised of the majority of cases. With 13,605 recorded cases, early syphilis reached its highest rate since 1987.

State officials are particularly concerned by a spike in stillbirths due to congenital syphilis.

In 2016, the USA had 2 million cases of STDs with California having one of the highest rates recorded. New at-home kit promises to be the Amazon of STD testingThat's a 45 percent increase compared to five years ago. The agency released 2017 data which show record rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

If not treated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility, long-term pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy - when the fetus grows outside the uterus. It can cause severe neurological problems, deformities or blindness, and death. That's "shameful", says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. In 2017, there were 278 stillbirths and 47 babies born with congenital syphilis in LA. He also noted that Thailand, Cuba, and Belarus almost eliminated infection in infants.

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

Reports said Chlamydia was the most commonly reported STD, especially for people between the ages of 20 to 24.

She estimated that about $20 million in state and federal money is allocated yearly to fighting STDs - a small number in a state with almost 40 million residents.

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.

"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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