A record number of Californians were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in 2017, according to a new report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). With more than 300,000 cases of all three diseases reported in the state in 2017, researchers counted 30 stillbirths resulting from congenital syphilis.
STDs are on the rise in California and in Butte County, but these aren't slight year-to-year increases, they're rising at an alarming rate.
See the CDPH's breakdown of the data here. Young women have the highest rates of chlamydia, while men have the highest rates of syphilis and gonorrhea. Gonorrhea cases saw a 16 percent increase in the same time frame but affected twice as many men than women.
The most concerning finding on this report was in 2017- when there were 30 stillbirths due to syphilis. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it".
Consistent and correct condom use is still the best way to prevent STDs.
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Common among young people aged 15-24, gonorrhea can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat.
Kern County has the second highest number of babies born with congenital syphilis, according to the data.
The most reported STD was chlamydia, with 218,710 cases reported in 2017. This represents an average infection rate of 34.3 cases per 100,000 Californians, higher than the national average of 8.7 per 100,000.
Different stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) have different symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states. African-Americans had early-syphilis rates two-times higher than whites. That's the highest number reported in the state since 1995. It can occur after direct contact with a syphilis sore during sexual intercourse. Untreated syphilis can lead to permanent vision loss, hearing, and other neurologic problems.
The CDPH expressed plans to collaborate with local health departments and organizations in order to raise awareness about regular testing, safe sex practices, risks and treatment options, etc. Relatively new forms of pre-emptive treatment and the success of keeping people alive and healthy who are HIV-positive has made contracting the virus less scary and more manageable.