Reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases reached a new high in California in 2017, health officials announced on Monday.
CDPH noted that 2017 was the "fifth consecutive year for increases in the number of infants born with congenital syphilis", and that there were 278 congenital syphilis cases, including 30 stillbirths, in California last year. She also cited the importance of regular testing and treatment for people who are sexually active, even for those who do not have symptoms. "So in San Francisco, we recommend young women 25 and under get screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year with their provider".
"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said Department of Public Health Director Dr. Karen Smith.
Read the full report from the California Department of Public Health here. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it".
The diagnosis rate for chlamydia was 552.1 cases per 100,000 Californians, compared to 497.3 per 100,000 nationwide. Los Angeles County alone saw congenital syphilis cases jump from eight in 2013 to 47 a year ago.
In California, chlamydia rates among women were 60 percent higher than among males, and 54 percent of cases were in people under the age of 25. If left untreated, gonorrhea can increase chances of getting or transmitting HIV. It can occur after direct contact with a syphilis sore during sexual intercourse.
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. Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems.
Overall, the number of STD cases has been climbing in the U. S. In 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 2 million cases of syphilis, chlamydia or gonorrhea-the highest ever recorded, with California near the top. 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.
DOH is working with local public health agencies and community partners to enhance their capacity to investigate and reduce the spread of STDs.
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.