A report from California Department of Public Health (CDPH) shows a record number of people are carrying sexually transmitted diseases statewide.
This only counts reported cases, meaning those who were officially diagnosed with an STD.
More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported in 2017, officials said.
That’s a 45 percent increase from five years ago.
STDs can cause a number of serious health problems, the CDPH says.
One of the most alarming is the number of stillbirths occurring as a result of congenital syphilis.
“In 2017 there were 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis in California,” officials said. This is the highest number reported since 1995.
Experts say syphilis can also cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems.
If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain, according to the CDPH.
Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are highest in people ue younger than 30-year-old.
Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while males account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases, the report says.
“STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms. Most people infected with an STD do not know it.”
Here’s more info from the CDPH:
CDPH is collaborating with local health departments and organizations throughout the state to raise awareness. CDPH is working with the California Department of Education and community groups to implement the newly enacted California Healthy Youth Act, which mandates comprehensive STD/HIV prevention education in schools.
Other state efforts leverage innovative strategies such as courses for medical providers and teachers, expedited partner treatment to local clinics, and free and low cost online ordering options for home delivery of condoms and STD test kits. For more information, visit the CDPH Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Branch.