LifestyleHealthy Living


STDs reach 'epidemic' levels in California, state health officials say

Posted at 4:21 PM, Oct 08, 2019

The California Department of Public Health says cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are at the highest levels in 30 years. Health officials are calling it an epidemic.

In 2018, there were 25,344 cases of syphilis reported in the state, a 265% increase from 10 years ago. Cases of gonorrhea increased 211% to 79,397. Chlamydia increased 56% to 232,181 cases.

Health officials say STDs are increasing in all regions of the state, among both men and women.

In San Luis Obispo County, 1,200 cases of chlamydia were reported in 2018. There were 188 cases of gonorrhea reported and 29 cases of early syphilis.

The rate of STD cases was higher in Santa Barbara County. The county ranked 13th in California for rates of chlamydia with 2,704 cases reported in 2018. Gonorrhea cases totaled 501 and there were 95 cases of early syphilis.

Click here to see the full report including all counties in the state.

Health officials say the highest rates of STDs are among people ages 15-24, and chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported STDs in California.

The trends in California echoed a report released Tuesday by the CDC, which said combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis in the U.S. had risen for the fifth consecutive year.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are curable but often don't show symptoms and go undetected. Untreated, these diseases can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.

Syphilis also often shows no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Untreated, it can cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems.

Health officials encourage people to protect themselves from STDs by using condoms, getting tested, and practicing other safe sex principles.