Over the past several months many different states have released their most recent STD reports. A startling trend of record-breaking STD numbers has been apparent in all of them. Now, the most populous state in the United States, California, is revealing that they have also seen an all-time high in STD case reports over the past year.
According to the California Department of Public Health, there were more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2017. This was a shocking 45% increase from a similar report five years ago. Among these cases, reports were most common among young people under the age of 30. Rates of chlamydia were highest among women. Men were more affected by gonorrhea and syphilis.
All of these infections are curable with antibiotics. To receive treatment and be cured, a person needs to be diagnosed first. If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Syphilis can result in blindness, hearing loss and neurologic problems. In the worst scenario, untreated syphilis can eventually lead to death. This is why STD testing is vital to the prevention of more serious health conditions.
California has also seen a rise in congenital syphilis. There have been 30 stillbirths resulting from congenital syphilis statewide in the past year. This is the highest number reported since 1995.
“For California to have a steady increase in congenital syphilis is shameful,” said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. He pointed to nations such as Cuba, Thailand and Belarus that have nearly eliminated the life-threatening infection seen in infants. “We’ve known how to control syphilis since the early 1900s. Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net.”
Many times, STDs will not show any obvious signs or symptoms. Even without symptoms, an STD can lead to complications with your reproductive health. Often, because no symptoms are present, STD testing is the only way to detect an infection. If you believe that you may have been exposed to an STD, or are simply curious about your current sexual health status, you should have STD testing performed right away. Taking control of your sexual health can help prevent the spread of STDs.