Bauer also suggested the rise in STDs may be a symptom of more general problems in areas such as the economically hard-hit San Joaquin Valley where people are struggling with poverty, substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness.
Another concerning number from the state health agency is that 30 stillbirths occurred in California due to syphilis. From 2016 to 2017, there were as many cases of congenital syphilis as in the previous 10 years combined.
If left untreated, the STD can lead to loss of vision, brain disease, and hearing problems. With a state population of almost 40 million, Bauer said it isn't enough, especially in areas struggling with poverty, substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness.
According to the CDPH, reported cases of chlamydia rose nine percent since 2016 and affected more women than men by about 60 percent.
'For California to have a steady increase in congenital syphilis is shameful, ' said Dr Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. Being diagnosed with syphilis during pregnancy can also put the unborn baby at risk of having a low birth weight, being delivered early or death (stillbirth).
The "public health safety net" Klausner refers to has been decimated by budget cuts since the 2008 financial crisis. However, Dr. James Watt, the chief of communicable disease control division for CDPH said that social media has played a vital role in helping many people discover anonymous or random sex partners.
CDPH is collaborating with local health departments and organizations throughout the state to raise awareness.
For the health officials, the increase is more alarming than ever considering the fact that the number of sexually transmitted disease has increased each year for six years.
Klausner said that sexual health - and money for education about sexual health - isn't something people like to talk about. Early detection and treatment can interrupt the steady climb of STD rates.
"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".
The diagnosis rate for chlamydia was 552.1 cases per 100,000 Californians, compared to 497.3 per 100,000 nationwide.
The health department's director, Dr. Karen Smith, urged sexually active people to use condoms and get tested regularly.
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