STD Infections Reach New High in the U.S.: Where Does California Rank?

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With state and local STD prevention and treatment programs threatened, federal health officials worry the rates will continue to climb.

Cases of sexually transmitted diseases are at an all-time high, according to new data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with California coming in the top 20 spots.

In 2015, the CDC recorded more than 1.5 million new cases of chlamydia, nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhea and nearly 24,000 cases of syphilis, the three most common STDs. In California, there were nearly 200,000 new cases of chlamydia, nearly 54,000 cases of gonorrhea and nearly 5,000 cases of syphilis. The syphilis rate of infection was nearly twice that of the national average, according to the new data.

Teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 account for nearly two-thirds of diagnosed cases of chlamydia and half of gonorrhea cases.

“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services – or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”

STDs cost the U.S. healthcare system nearly $16 billion a year, according to the CDC. And chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are curable with antibiotics, but most STD cases go undiagnosed and untreated. That puts those infected at greater risk for serious health threats, including infertility, chronic pain and HIV infection.

Federal health officials are sounding the alarm as state and local governments nationwide address budget challenges by cutting STD prevention and treatment resources. More than 20 STD clinics have closed within one year, according to the CDC.

STD prevention resources across the nation are stretched thin, and we’re beginning to see people slip through the public health safety net,” Mermin said. “Turning the STD epidemics around requires bolstering prevention efforts and addressing new challenges – but the payoff is substantial in terms of improving health, reducing disparities and saving billions of dollars.”

State and local data from the STD survey, according to the CDC:

Chlamydia Cases Rate per 100K
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 68,285 514.9
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 20,778 467.8
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA 10,621 473.2
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 17,378 532.5
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 23,519 511.9
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 6,898 353.2
California (State ranked 17th) 189,170 487.5
U.S. Total 1,526,658 478.8

 

Gonorrhea Cases Rate per 100K
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 19,867 149.8
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4,904 110.4
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA 3,317 147.8
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 3,691 113.1
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 9,330 203.1
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,857 95.1
California (State ranked 14th) 54,135 139.5
U.S. Total 395,216 123.9

 

Primary and Secondary Syphilis Cases Rate per 100K
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 1,832 13.8
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 341 7.7
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA 265 11.8
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 493 15.1
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 830 18.1
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 134 6.9
California (State ranked third) 4,908 12.6
U.S. Total 23,872 7.5