California has Particularly high STD Rates
According to federal data released late September, the number of Americans diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis reached a record high in 2016 for the second year in a row, with more than 2 million cases reported and particularly high rates in California. Since 2014, cases of these three sexually transmitted diseases have been increasing nationally, reversing a downward trend that began in 2006. Health officials believe the rates reflect decreasing condom usage, a lack of awareness about STDs among doctors and patients, and a falling number of STD clinics. Luckily, all three STDs are curable, but if left untreated they can cause infertility or other serious health problems. People may not get tested due to various reasons including not having symptoms or not noticing their symptoms, however, they are still able to spread the disease to others. Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement
The number of reported STDs in California is increasing at a concerning rate. This is the third year in a row that we have seen increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
Officials are concerned because as the number of women with syphilis has jumped, so has the number of babies born with syphilis passed down from their mothers. In California, which has the third highest syphilis rates in the nation, cases among women of reproductive age increased 50 percent between 2015 and 2016. Over a quarter-million Californians were infected with syphilis, chlamydia or gonorrhea last year, which constitutes a 40 percent jump compared with five years ago. The chlamydia cases in California represent the highest level of the disease since 1990, with the biggest increase last year in the San Francisco region. Los Angeles, Fresno and Kern counties also had rates of all three STDs that were above the state average. Health officials recommend that sexually active adults get regularly tested for STDs.