2017 Calif. Public Health Report: Kern County among highest rates of STDs in state
15 May, 2018, 23:37
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) launched its latest national outdoor advertising and awareness campaign with new billboards raising an alarm and offering a 'Gonorrhea Alert' about drug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted disease-including a case of what has been referred to as 'super gonorrhea' reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by physicians in the United Kingdom earlier this year. This is the highest number reported since 1995.
If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain, according to the CDPH.
There were 30 syphilis-related stillbirths in California in 2017, the highest since 1997.
"Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial infections in California." the report reads.
Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while males account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases, the report says. Syphilis can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems. That's "shameful", says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles.
Early syphilis, which includes the primary, secondary and early latent stages of the disease, reached the highest number of cases since 1987, the agency found.
The "public health safety net" Klausner refers to has been decimated by budget cuts since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Pew Research Center reported that the number of adults using dating sites and apps has almost tripled since 2013.
AHF has been promoting sexual health and STD screening through its innovative billboard campaigns for the past several years in response to the overall skyrocketing rates of STDs nationwide, particularly among young people and men-who-have-sex-with-men. Early detection and treatment can interrupt the steady climb of STD rates.
Reported instances of syphilis also increased.
'While there are advocates and champions for cancer, nobody is out there saying, 'I have gonorrhea and these are the best ways to treat it.' There's no one out there being a champion for these conditions, ' said Klausner.
"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith.
Gonorrhea cases also hit a new high in California, reporting the highest number since 1988.