STD cases drastically climb in California

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the inability to treat it an "urgent public health threat."

Gonorrhea cases also hit a new high in California, reporting the highest number since 1988. Young women made up the majority of chlamydia cases; men accounted for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

Female cases of syphilis increased early 7-fold from less than 250 early-cases reported in 2012.

In the last few years, Kern County has seen sexually transmitted disease rates soar, putting Kern's STD rates among the highest in the state.

Meanwhile, the health department recorded 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis.

The almost half a million nationwide cases of gonorrhea in 2016 is even more urgent. 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 agency released 2017 data which show record rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

If chlamydia and gonorrhoea are left untreated then it can result in infertility, chorionic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy.

California tragically reported a three-fold increase in stillbirths from congenital syphilis, with 30 occurring in 2017. Congenital syphilis is a growing problem in Washington.

He pointed to nations such as Cuba, Thailand and Belarus that have almost eliminated the life-threatening infection seen in infants.

And the numbers are rising in Butte County, especially with early Syphilis.

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. There are many places that offer free STD testing and even hand out condoms for free. The health department also looks forward to providing education regarding the risk of such STDs, and about screening and treatment. An estimated $20 million is for health care, which the department says is not enough for California's 40 million residents.

"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.