Sexually transmitted disease rates are at an all-time high in California, according to new data from the California Department of Public Health. New at-home kit promises to be the Amazon of STD testingThat's a 45 percent increase compared to five years ago.
The figure that caused the greatest alarm for researchers and administrators was 30 stillbirths resulting from congenital syphilis statewide - the highest number reported since 1995, the CDPH said.
"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement.
The most reported STD was chlamydia, with 218,710 cases reported in 2017. Chlamydia rates among girls and women were 60 percent higher than boys and men. According to the CDC, most people with chlamydia don't have symptoms, or those symptoms may not appear for several weeks. 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.More news: Tornado watch issued for area
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.
Left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy, while syphilis can lead to blindness or even be fatal.
Here's what you should know about this record-breaking number.
Syphilis is categorized as primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary- and each stage has different signs and symptoms. It can occur after direct contact with a syphilis sore during sexual intercourse. Syphilis may also cause neurological problems, as well as permanent loss of vision and hearing.
A table depicts the number of gonorrhea cases reported in L.A. County from 2012 to 2017. In women, it can also be passed to the baby, called congenital syphilis and can result in stillbirth, early death, or long-term infection. With 13,605 recorded cases, early syphilis reached its highest rate since 1987. According to health officials, STDs are largely curable and can be easily prevented by taking measures to practice safe sex.