Californians suffered a record number of STDs in 2017

A table depicts the number of gonorrhea cases reported in L.A. County from 2012 to 2017

A table depicts the number of gonorrhea cases reported in L.A. County from 2012 to 2017

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

"More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported: a 45% increase compared to five years ago", wrote the authors.

CDPH noted that 2017 was the "fifth consecutive year for increases in the number of infants born with congenital syphilis", and that there were 278 congenital syphilis cases, including 30 stillbirths, in California last year.

See the CDPH's breakdown of the data here. In 2017, there were 218,710 reported cases of chlamydia, the highest number since 1990, representing a 9% increase over 2016. "We all need to keep making the public aware of and encourage sexually-active individuals to get tested for STDs on a regular basis-and be treated, if and as necessary-and to also use tools like condoms to prevent or reduce the likelihood of infections". Many people with STD do not know they have it. According to the CDC, most people with chlamydia don't have symptoms, or those symptoms may not appear for several weeks.

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Thirty-three percent of gonorrhea cases in California were in people under age 25.

For the health officials, the increase is more alarming than ever considering the fact that the number of sexually transmitted disease has increased each year for six years. According to the new report, young female Californians comprised of the majority of cases.

While the health department is now planning a public effort to spread awareness about the dangers of STDs and how to protect against them, the head of the state's STD Control Branch said budget issues likely played a role in the uptick of cases.

Syphilis is categorized as primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary- and each stage has different signs and symptoms.

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And the numbers are rising in Butte County, especially with early Syphilis.

"It may show up as a rash on the palm of your hands or maybe a little bit of a hair loss, and that's not something you commonly think of when someone gets an STD". With 13,605 recorded cases, early syphilis reached its highest rate since 1987. It can cause severe neurological problems, deformities or blindness, and death.

"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said Department of Public Health Director Dr. Karen Smith.

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