SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were diagnosed in California in 2017- a 45% increase in just 5 years.

The California Department of Public Health released its yearly report Monday, calling 2017 a record year for cases.

The statistics show chlamydia and gonorrhea rates were highest among those under age 30. Young women made up the majority of chlamydia cases; men accounted for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

In 2017 there were 30 stillbirths due to congenital syphilis, with a total of 278 congenital syphilis cases.

Chlamydia can infect men and women and is transmitted by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex. According to the CDC, most people with chlamydia don’t have symptoms, or those symptoms may not appear for several weeks.

Gonorrhea is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24. Some men, and the majority of women, who have gonorrhea don’t exhibit symptoms.

Syphilis is categorized as primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary- and each stage has different signs and symptoms. You can get syphilis by having direct contact with a sore.

If chlamydia and gonorrhea aren’t treated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Untreated syphilis can lead to permanent vision loss, hearing, and other neurologic problems.

“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. “Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms. Most people infected with an STD do not know it.”

The report details how many cases were diagnosed in California in 2017.

  • 218,710 cases of chlamydia (highest since 1990)
  • 75,450 cases of gonorrhea (highest since 1988)
  • 13,605 cases of early syphilis (highest since 1987)

The report shows chlamydia and gonorrhea rates for African-Americans were 5 times higher than for whites. The syphilis rate for African-Americans were two times higher.

As a result of the report, CDPH says it will collaborate with local health departments and organizations statewide to raise awareness.


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