Rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in California spiked to an all-time high last year. The most affected groups are young women and men who have sex with men (MSM).
According to health officials, more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in California in 2017, a 45 percent increase from five yeas ago.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among people under 30. Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while men account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases, the Washington Post reports.
Health officials report 30 stillbirths from congenital syphilis statewide. Los Angeles County alone saw a dramatic increase in congenital syphilis cases.
“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.
“We’ve known how to control syphilis since early 1900s,” Klausner said. “Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net.”
Klausner blamed lack of state and federal funding for public health programs and counties that are struggling with poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues.
It doesn’t help that California is a Sanctuary state, where public health funding is already stretched thin.
In 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill which reduces penalties for intentionally exposing a sexual partner to HIV.
The bill reduces the punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor for knowingly infecting others with HIV.
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