California hit record numbers of new infections of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017, with almost 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, according to a report by the state health department and published Monday.
More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were diagnosed in California in 2017- a 45% increase in just 5 years. In total, there were 75,560 cases in 2017, representing a 16 percent increase from the year before, making the rate 190.5 cases per 100,000 Californians.
The most reported sexually transmitted bacterial infections in the state, chlamydia and gonorrhea typically don't have symptoms but can cause problems including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, according to CDPH.
"And for gay men and other men who have sex with men and trans persons, they should have STD screening every three months", said SF Department of Public Health's Dr. Susan Philip. "Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net". This is up significantly from previous year when 1,805 cases were reported. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it". 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.
According to the CDPH, reported cases of chlamydia rose nine percent since 2016 and affected more women than men by about 60 percent.
Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are highest in people ue younger than 30-year-old.
She estimated that about $20 million in state and federal money is allocated yearly to fighting STDs - a small number in a state with almost 40 million residents. You can get syphilis by having direct contact with a sore.
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. But rates of more serious infections like syphilis have increased even more, especially among men, including a 20% overall increase from 2016. The syphilis rate for African-Americans were two times higher.
Adding to the problem, says Dr. Heidi Bauer, chief of the state health department's STD Control Branch, is the fact that many Californians have been steered away from getting their health treatment at public clinics, and into private practice via the Affordable Care Act.
Early syphilis, which includes the primary, secondary and early latent stages of the disease, reached the highest number of cases since 1987, the agency found.