As California STD Rates Skyrocket, AHF Highlights New 'Gonorrhea Alert' Billboards

As California STD Rates Skyrocket, AHF Highlights New 'Gonorrhea Alert' Billboards

As California STD Rates Skyrocket, AHF Highlights New 'Gonorrhea Alert' Billboards

California hit record numbers of new infections of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017, with almost 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, according to a report by the state health department and published Monday.

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. Released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the data revealed a 45 percent increase in cases compared to data from five years ago.

The report showed there were 218,710 cases of chlamydia and 75,450 cases of gonorrhea previous year.

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

AHF has been promoting sexual health and STD screening through its innovative billboard campaigns for the past several years in response to the overall skyrocketing rates of STDs nationwide, particularly among young people and men-who-have-sex-with-men.

Thirty-three percent of gonorrhea cases in California were in people under age 25. The 75,450 cases of gonorrhea reported past year was the highest number since 1988. Young women have the highest rates of chlamydia, while men have the highest rates of syphilis and gonorrhea.

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Klausner pointed to the nations of Cuba, Thailand and Belarus, which have virtually eliminated syphilis cases among infants, the AP reported. While it may be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, it can also be passed on from a woman to her baby during childbirth. If left untreated, gonorrhea can increase chances of getting or transmitting HIV. Syphilis can lead to blindness, hearing loss and neurological issues, the wire service said.

She estimated that about $20 million in state and federal money is allocated yearly to fighting STDs - a small number in a state with almost 40 million residents. And result in stillbirths it does: in 2017, there were 30 syphilis-related stillbirths in California, the most since 1995. This represents an average infection rate of 34.3 cases per 100,000 Californians, higher than the national average of 8.7 per 100,000.

The "Gonorrhea Alert" campaign follows a prior 'Syphilis is Serious' AHF campaign launched earlier this year highlighting prevention and treatment of syphilis.

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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.

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