STD rates on the rise; health officials urge testing

Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 23, 2018

Sexually-transmitted diseases are on the rise in California, according to the department of public health, and officials are urging residents to take preventative measures and get tested.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported STDs in California. They often cause no symptoms, but tests and treatment that can lead to a cure are available. If not treated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to reproductive issues like pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.


In 2017, there were 218,710 cases of chlamydia reported statewide, a 9 percent increase over 2016. 

In San Luis Obispo County, 1,249 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed, up from 1,142 in 2016. 

In Santa Barbara County, 2,292 cases were reported, up just slightly from 2,291 cases in 2016.

State health officials say chlamydia rates are 60 percent higher among females than males and 54 percent of recent cases were among people under the age of 25.


In 2017, there were 75,450 cases of gonorrhea reported statewide, a 16 percent increase over 2016.

In San Luis Obispo County, 176 cases of gonorrhea were diagnosed in 2017, compared to 230 in 2016.

In Santa Barbara County, 380 cases were reported, up from 318 in 2016.

More males than females were diagnosed with gonorrhea, according to state health officials, and a third of recent cases were among people under the age of 25.

They also say the disease is becoming harder to treat because the bacteria that causes it is becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Syphilis is also on the rise in California, with 13,605 cases reported in 2017, a 20 percent increase over 2016. Untreated syphilis can lead to serious health problems, including brain disease.

April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month and health officials are encouraging people to get tested so they can receive treatment if they have a positive diagnosis. Routine screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea is recommended for sexually active women up to age 25 as well as others at risk for STDs. Treatment may include pills or a shot. 

People with STDs that cannot be cured, such as HIV and herpes, can also receive medications to treat their symptoms.

To find a location near you that provides low-cost STD testing and treatment, click here.