California hit record numbers of new infections of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017, with almost 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, according to a report by the state health department and published Monday.
If left untreated, both chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to serious reproductive health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility, according to the study.
The 218,710 cases of chlamydia reported in 2017 was the highest number since records were first kept on the disease in 1990.
Klausner pointed to the nations of Cuba, Thailand and Belarus, which have virtually eliminated syphilis cases among infants, the AP reported. Thirty-three percent of cases involved people under 25 while rates among men were twice as high as women. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it".
The report shows chlamydia and gonorrhea rates for African-Americans were 5 times higher than for whites. Released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the data revealed a 45 percent increase in cases compared to data from five years ago. While health officials encourage routine screening for STD's, they mention that emerging strains of gonorrhea are outpacing available antibiotics.
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Reported cases of Primary and Secondary Syphilis, for females ages 15-44 has gone down.
"Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms", Smith added. In 2017, Kern County had 59 cases, down from 75 in 2016.
Public Health recently launched a medical provider education campaign aimed at improving awareness of syphilis trends and guidelines and earlier detection and treatment of syphilis in women before they may become pregnant. 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). And result in stillbirths it does: in 2017, there were 30 syphilis-related stillbirths in California, the most since 1995. On the other hand, syphilis can lead to neurologic issues, loss of hearing and blindness.
Bauer also suggested the rise in STDs may be a symptom of more general problems in areas such as the economically hard-hit San Joaquin Valley where people are struggling with poverty, substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness.