Gonorrhea, Syphilis Rates on the Rise in California, Data Show

TOPIC ALERT:

The rate of sexually transmitted infections significantly increased in California last year, with most cases reportedly affecting younger women, according to new data from the California Department of Public Health, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Plevin, "KPCC News," KPCC, 7/1).

Details of Increase

The data show that there were about 216,000 reported cases of STIs in California in 2013. Specifically, there were:

  • About 168,000 cases of chlamydia, a slight decrease from 2012;
  • More than 38,000 cases of gonorrhea, a 13% increase from 2012;
  • More than 3,500 cases of primary and secondary syphilis, an 18% increase from 2012;
  • Nearly 2,900 cases of early latent syphilis; and
  • More than 3,600 cases of late latent syphilis (DPH release, 7/1).

Despite the decrease in cases, chlamydia still is the most common STI reported in California, "KPCC News" reports.

STI cases continue to be most prevalent in younger women, with about 66% of chlamydia cases and 54% of female gonorrhea cases reported in women ages 15 to 24 ("KPCC News," KPCC, 7/1).

In addition, the new data show "profound racial disparities," with the rate of gonorrhea being about 6.2 times higher among blacks than non-Hispanic, white individuals, according to DPH (DPH release, 7/1).

Reaction

Heidi Bauer, chief of the STI control program at DPH, said, "We consider these very significant and concerning increases in numbers of cases and rates of disease."

She added, "The increase is seen overall, but when you look at who is most affected by these infections, it's women more so than men, in many cases, and young people in general" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 7/1).


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