STD cases drastically climb in California


While health officials encourage routine screening for STD's, they mention that emerging strains of gonorrhea are outpacing available antibiotics.

California has the second-highest rate of congenital syphilis in the country after Louisiana, according to the most recent national data. Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are highest among people under 30.

Health officials say a record number of Californians were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease a year ago.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain, while syphilis can cause blindness, hearing loss and neurologic issues. In 2017, there were 278 stillbirths and 47 babies born with congenital syphilis in LA.

Rates of both chlamydia and gonorrhea are almost 5 times higher among blacks than whites.

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Different stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) have different symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states.

Funding slashed a decade ago hasn't been restored, leading to continued closing of clinics and collapse of education programs about risks and treatment options. "Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net", Dr. Jeffery Klausner, a professor of medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Associated Press.

While there's no one clear reason for the increases of the other STDs, Bauer points to "very high rates of folks who are not accessing sexual health services and aren't getting screened frequently". An estimated $20 million is for health care, which the department says is not enough for California's 40 million residents. In women, it can also be passed to the baby, called congenital syphilis and can result in stillbirth, early death, or long-term infection.

Public Health recently launched a medical provider education campaign aimed at improving awareness of syphilis trends and guidelines and earlier detection and treatment of syphilis in women before they may become pregnant. Officials say regular STD testing is important because most people who are infected don't know it.

Those most commonly affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea are under 30 years old. According to the new report, young female Californians comprised of the majority of cases.