California STD cases hit record high

More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and early syphilis were reported in California in 2017, a record total, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Last year, state health officials tallied 218,710 chlamydia cases, 75,450 gonorrhea cases and 13,605 early syphilis cases. The total number of reported cases of the three STDs, 307,765, marked a 45 percent increase from the amount recorded five years prior.

Additionally, there were 30 stillbirths that occurred in California last year as a result of congenital syphilis. Health officials say that figure is particularly concerning, and it is the highest number of syphilis-induced stillbirths reported since 1995.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most prevalent among people under the age of 30. Chlamydia rates are highest among young women, while young males account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic pain and disease and lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Syphilis can cause permanent hearing and vision loss and other neurologic problems.

“STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics,” said 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.”

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