Nick Ut / AP
In California, there was a record increase in sexually transmitted diseases and an increase in stillbirths due to syphilis. It is the third year in a row that the state has seen an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.
More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and early syphilis were counted in 2017, according to the latest report from the California Department of Public Health. Health officials said the upturn was 45 percent higher than five years ago.
However, what the department "particularly concerns" is that the number of stillbirths due to congenital syphilis has risen to 30 – the highest reported since 1995. And all the cases of California babies born with this disease passed the placenta from their mothers – more than quadrupling since 2013 to 278 last year. It can cause severe neurological problems, birth defects or blindness in addition to other serious medical conditions.
Chlamydia is by far the most prevalent of the three diseases, especially in young women under 30 years. Men make up the majority of cases of syphilis and gonorrhea. If left untreated, the health authority notes that chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause inflammatory pelvic disease and can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.
"STDs can be avoided by consequent use of condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics, CDPH Director and State Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement." Regular testing and treatments are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms. Most people who are infected with a venereal disease do not know it. "
Dr. Heidi Bauer, director of the US Department of Health's STD Control Branch, told NPR that the increase in sexually transmitted diseases affects a variety of factors For example, the increase in gonorrhea and syphilis in gay and bisexual men may be partly due to the efficacy of HIV / AIDS treatment. "There are therefore fewer concerns about the transmission of HIV and AIDS Use of condoms, "she said.
The rural population suffers greatly from the closure of smaller clinics closed due to nationwide budget cuts during the recession, and Bauer said that people with limited access to care" struggled "for a long time Routes traveled to get medical help or tests And in some, not every provider will launch the medications to treat STD cases, she said.
The ubiquity of "hookup" apps also contributes to this. "The Internet and smartphones have made it very, very easy to create social and sexual connections between people," Bauer said, adding that short-lived relationships, where many people do not care about meaningful contact information, are a challenge to former ones Notify sexual partners of dangerous infections.
California data are in line with recent nationwide numbers of disease control and prevention centers, which registered more STDs in 2016 than ever before. More than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been diagnosed In the US, this year and early reports indicate that 2017 could be another record year.
Alaska, Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest chlamydia cases per capita, while Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia had the highest gonorrhea numbers. The District of Columbia, Louisiana and New York have received a shameful recognition for syphilis cases.
In California, the Department of Health is working with the State Department of Education and community groups to ensure that schools provide comprehensive STD / HIV prevention training, as required by the 2016 Healthy Youth Act.