Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Report shows STDs in California at all-time high

Reported STD Cases Reach New High in California, Health Officials Find 2017 Calif. Public Health Report: Kern County among highest rates of STDs in state
Ben Pena | 15 May, 2018, 23:37

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

Health experts have a number of theories as to why all these STDs are on the rise.

The state recorded the highest number of chlamydia cases since reporting started in 1990, the agency said.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.

Another concerning number from the state health agency is that 30 stillbirths occurred in California due to syphilis.

There were 13,605 early syphilis cases reported in 2017, people reporting the first stage of the disease marked by sores in or around the mouth and genitals.

Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurological problems. Rates of chlamydia are higher for young women, and syphilis and gonorrhea are most prevalent among men. That's "shameful", says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. African-Americans had early-syphilis rates two-times higher than whites. Many people with STD do not know they have it.

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That latter stat is particularly troubling to public health officials given the long-term dangers of untreated syphilis, which can cause brain damage.

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.

While the health department is now planning a public effort to spread awareness about the dangers of STDs and how to protect against them, the head of the state's STD Control Branch said budget issues likely played a role in the uptick of cases.

National STD data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found in the 2016 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report.

'For sexual health, primary care wasn't the most effective method, ' Bauer said. Early detection and treatment can interrupt the steady climb of STD rates. 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.

"While there are advocates and champions for cancer, nobody is out there saying, 'I have gonorrhea and these are the best ways to treat it.' There's no one out there being a champion for these conditions".

"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.

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