California reaches all-time high in sexually transmitted diseases

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The state Department of Public Health says a record number of state residents - 308,043 - were diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) last year, a number that's up 45 percent from just five years ago.

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

Many people may be thinking this is the millennials or Gen X or the younger population that's fueling this spike in STD cases.

In 2017, Sacramento had the 6th highest chlamydia rates of all 58 California counties.

Washington state health officials said many factors went into the rate rising, but it was partially a lack of knowledge and access to care. Those statistics include increases in chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea.

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.

Officials are also increasing efforts to follow up on cases, especially those involving pregnant women with syphilis, she said. Discharge, bleeding between periods, swollen testicles are some of the symptoms of gonorrhea.

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As students are warned in high school health classes, sexually transmitted diseases can have risky consequences.

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD; the rates are highest in 20 to 24-year-old women. So whether or not you find the billboards with microscopic images posted in Oakland, Los Angeles, and all the way out to Florida, save yourself and future sexual partners a potentially untreatable case of gonorrhea by getting tested.

'We've known how to control syphilis since early 1900s. It can cause severe neurological problems, deformities or blindness, and death.

Even worse for California health authorities, however, is this: untreated syphilis can result in stillbirths.

Officials revealed that there were 30 stillbirths linked to congenital syphilis in 2017, the highest reported since 1995.

We also must expand access to STD screening, testing, and treatment - and to condoms, the only method of protection against STD transmission besides abstinence.

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