Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Californians suffered a record number of STDs in 2017

Californians suffered a record number of STDs in 2017

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases in California reached a record high a year ago and, state health authorities said Monday.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare official Chris Smith said syphilis cases in Idaho has risen about 300 percent in the last five years. The prevalence of congenital syphilis has particularly skyrocketed, with an increase of more than 500 percent over years past.

See the CDPH's breakdown of the data here. In 2017, there were 218,710 reported cases of chlamydia, the highest number since 1990, representing a 9% increase over 2016. Gonorrhea cases saw a 16 percent increase in the same time frame but affected twice as many men than women.

California tragically reported a three-fold increase in stillbirths from congenital syphilis, with 30 occurring in 2017. Syphilis may also cause neurological problems, as well as permanent loss of vision and hearing.

Thirty-three percent of gonorrhea cases in California were in people under age 25.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among people under 30, the report said, warning that rates of the diseases may be indicators of a struggling public health system.


Dr Heidi Bauer, chief of the state health department's STD Control Branch, agreed that budget issues are part of the problem.

"We've known how to control syphilis since early 1900's". Providers must be trained in clinical best practices for STD screening and care and outreach interventions must be more targeted and culturally and linguistically appropriate to help reduce the community health disparities that persist.

The Pew Research Center reported that the number of adults using dating sites and apps has almost tripled since 2013. While it may be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, it can also be passed on from a woman to her baby during childbirth. They have programs launched throughout the state on STD prevention coalitions, Comprehensive Sex Education Network's, and STD awareness campaigns. Many STDs can be cured with antibiotics if attacked quickly.

"Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial infections in California." the report reads.

The almost half a million nationwide cases of gonorrhea in 2016 is even more urgent.

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