Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

STDs on the Rise in California, Butte County

STDs on the Rise in California, Butte County

Sexually transmitted disease rates are at an all-time high in California, according to new data from the California Department of Public Health.

An undated photo shows a home test kit to detect sexually transmitted diseases.

More than 300,000 cases of Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported: a 45 percent increase compared to five years ago, according to the state. Thirty-three percent of cases involved people under 25 while rates among men were twice as high as women.

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.

In 2017 there were 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis, with a total of 278 congenital syphilis cases. The syphilis rate for African-Americans were two times higher.

CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Karen Smith said that STDs can be prevented by consistent use of condoms. "Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms". Many people with STD do not know they have it.

A table depicts the number of gonorrhea cases reported in L.A. County from 2012 to 2017.

Here's what you should know about this record-breaking number.

Chlamydia can infect men and women and is transmitted by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex. More than half were reported among individuals under 25. The 75,450 cases of gonorrhea reported previous year was the highest number since 1988. According to the CDC, there were close to half a million cases of gonorrhea (468,514) in the 2016, with at least 3.6% of that population showing resistance to antibiotics used to treat the infection.

Reported instances of syphilis also increased.

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.

Early syphilis, which includes the primary, secondary and early latent stages of the disease, reached the highest number of cases since 1987, the agency found.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain, while syphilis can cause blindness, hearing loss and neurologic issues.

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