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Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach a New High in California

16 May 2018

Washington State Department of Health officials and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare officials said sexually transmitted disease rates were continuing to rise.

In 2017, the number of California residents diagnosed with gonorrhea (over 13,000 cases), chlamydia (over 75,000 cases) or syphilis (over 218,000 cases) hit a consecutive three-year record, according to the California Department of Public Health.

See the CDPH's breakdown of the data here. Chlamydia was highest among young women while syphilis and gonorrhea mostly affected men.

Transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery, congenital syphilis can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, blindness, hearing loss and birth defects, among other issues, according to CDPH.

Health officials said they were working with local public health agencies and community partners to enhance their capacity to investigate and reduce the spread of STDs.

The statistics show chlamydia and gonorrhea rates were highest among those under age 30.

The health department is spearheading a "multi-pronged" effort to educate the public about the risks and get the word out to medical providers about the latest advances in screening and treatment, Bauer said.

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Klausner pointed to the nations of Cuba, Thailand and Belarus, which have virtually eliminated syphilis cases among infants, the AP reported. Many people with STD do not know they have it.

For the health officials, the increase is more alarming than ever considering the fact that the number of sexually transmitted disease has increased each year for six years. This is the highest number reported since 1995. This is up significantly from past year when 1,805 cases were reported.

"For California to have a steady increase in congenital syphilis is shameful", Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, told the Associated Press.

Testing and treatment are available for syphilis, which in adults is a bacterial infection and if left untreated can cause long-term health problems including brain disease.

Sexually active people of the Northwest: Get tested.

"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement.

Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach a New High in California