Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach a New High in California

Young Couple Kissing

Young Couple Kissing

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).

An undated photo shows a home test kit to detect sexually transmitted diseases. More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported: a 45 percent increase compared to five years ago.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates among African-Americans were almost five times higher than caucasians, CDPH found. African-Americans reported more than twice the rate for early syphilis than caucasians.

Officials blame lack of STD awareness, decreasing number of clinics and less frequent condom usage for the rates, the L.A. Times reported.

"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer. Officials say regular STD testing is important because most people who are infected don't know it.

When it comes to gonorrhea, Kern is fourth in the state with 2,265 reported cases. "So in San Francisco, we recommend young women 25 and under get screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year with their provider". This is up significantly from past year when 1,805 cases were reported. Rates among boys and men were twice as high than among girls and women. Untreated infections can cause health issues including brain disease, according to CDPH.

Kern County has the second highest number of babies born with congenital syphilis, according to the data. In 2017, Kern County had 59 cases, down from 75 in 2016. Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems.