California Near the Top as STD Rates Hit Another Record High, Latest CDC Data Shows

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Condoms are seen in a file photo. (Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Condoms are seen in a file photo. (Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

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The number of Americans diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis reached a record high in 2016 for the second year in a row, with more than 2 million cases reported and particularly high rates in California, according to federal data released Tuesday.

Cases of these three sexually transmitted diseases have been increasing nationally since 2014, reversing a downward trend that began in 2006. Health officials say the rates reflect decreasing condom usage, a lack of awareness about STDs among doctors and patients, and a falling number of STD clinics.

“Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said in a statement. “STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.”

All three STDs are curable, but if left untreated they can cause infertility or other serious health problems. People may not get tested because they don’t have symptoms or don’t notice their symptoms, but then are still able to spread the disease to others.

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