In 2016, the number of Americans diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis reached a record high — with nearly 2 million cases reported. California also saw these rates increase for the third year in a row.
STD rates are higher in California than any other state in the nation. Health professionals believe that the uptick is due to lack of condom use and falling number of clinics treating sexually transmitted diseases.
The most common diagnoses in California is chlamydia, especially amongst women under 30. But there has also been an increase in the number of women contracting syphilis.
In the 1990s, the United States’ syphilis rates were so low that health professionals thought it would be eradicated. Over the past five years, syphilis cases have surged.
California has the third-highest rate of syphilis in the nation — with the number of women diagnosed doubling from 2015 to 2016.
Health officials are concerned about congenital syphilis, which can cause stillbirth or permanent disabilities in babies born to women with the disease. In 2o12, only 35 babies were infected in California. Last year, there were 206.
Abstaining from sexual activity is the only way to ensure that you won’t contract an STD. Health professionals recommend using the proper protection, like condoms or dental dams (a prophylactic device used during oral sex), if you do engage in sexual activity.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis — the three most common STDs in California — can all be treated with medication. If you are worried you might have contracted an STD, be sure to seek medical help.
If you are sexually active, it is important to get tested for STDs regularly — even if you don’t have any symptoms.