Sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases have reached record-high numbers in California, the Los Angeles Times reports, as the 'sharing' economy goes viral.
In 2017, the number of California residents diagnosed with gonorrhea (over 13,000 cases), chlamydia (over 75,000 cases) or syphilis (over 218,000 cases) hit a consecutive three-year record, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The 300,000+ people diagnosed last year represents a 45-percent increase in STD cases since 2013.
Those most commonly affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea are under 30 years old. As The Sacramento Bee reports, “Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while men account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases."
"While there are advocates and champions for cancer, nobody is out there saying, 'I have gonorrhea and these are the best ways to treat it.' There's no one out there being a champion for these conditions," said Klausner.
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Officials are particularly concerned by mothers infected with syphilis, which has led to a significant increase in the number of stillborn babies. Stillbirths have quadrupled since 2013. In 2017, there were 278 stillbirths and 47 babies born with congenital syphilis in LA.
But California isn’t alone; STDs have been on the rise over the past five years across the U.S. As the Times explains, “Experts blame the increases on falling condom use, fewer public health clinics and people having more sexual partners linked to dating apps.”
If left untreated, these STDs can lead to a range of health issues in both adults and babies with infected mothers including infertility, ectopic or premature birth, chronic pain, blindness, hearing loss, meningitis and neurological disorders.
Rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have been rising nationally for several years. More than two million new cases of all three infections were reported in the United States in 2016 — the most ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC numbers for 2017 won't be available until later this year.