Health officials say record number of Californians diagnosed with STDs a year ago

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

Washington State Department of Health officials and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare officials said sexually transmitted disease rates were continuing to rise.

The Golden State has seen a almost 45 percent increase in three of the most serious STD's - syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea - since five years ago: 300,000 such cases in 2017. In total, there were 75,560 cases in 2017, representing a 16 percent increase from the year before, making the rate 190.5 cases per 100,000 Californians. "Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms".

If not treated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility, long-term pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy - when the fetus grows outside the uterus.

Consistent and correct condom use is still the best way to prevent STDs.

"Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial infections in California." the report reads. However, Dr. James Watt, the chief of communicable disease control division for CDPH said that social media has played a vital role in helping many people discover anonymous or random sex partners.

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Common among young people aged 15-24, gonorrhea can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. The 75,450 cases of gonorrhea reported previous year was the highest number since 1988. Los Angeles County alone saw congenital syphilis cases jump from eight in 2013 to 47 past year.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates among African-Americans were almost five times higher than caucasians, CDPH found. African-Americans reported more than twice the rate for early syphilis than caucasians. If left untreated, gonorrhea can increase chances of getting or transmitting HIV. With a state population of almost 40 million, Bauer said it isn't enough, especially in areas struggling with poverty, substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness. "The internet allows for a broadening of sexual networks, and the broader that gets the more opportunity you have for sexually transmitted diseases to spread".

Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and early syphilis were concentrated among those younger than 30. The syphilis rate for African-Americans were two times higher.

"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer.

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.

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