For Immediate Release:
September 26, 2017
LOS ANGELES – Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released its annual Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Report that highlights the ongoing increase in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases throughout the State, including Los Angeles County.
In 2016, Los Angeles County reported 59,176 cases of chlamydia (a 4% increase compared to 2015), 22,361 cases of gonorrhea (27% increase), 4,018 cases of syphilis (16%) and 37 cases of congenital syphilis (61% increase). Los Angeles County is experiencing sharper increases in gonorrhea and congenital syphilis cases than in California, while the increases in chlamydia and syphilis cases has been increasing at a higher rate statewide.
If left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection and lead to lifelong health problems, including infertility among women. The observed increase in congenital syphilis is especially concerning as these cases can lead to stillbirth and abnormal fetal development.
The majority of chlamydia cases occur among young women and men (less than 24 years), and disproportionately impact African-American and Latino youth.
Nearly 75% of female gonorrhea cases are among 15 to 29 year olds and over 80% of male gonorrhea cases are among 20 to 44 year olds. African-Americans are the group most disproportionately impacted by gonorrhea.
Over 93% of syphilis cases are reported among men, and the majority of these cases are among men who have sex with men. Of the 7% of syphilis cased diagnosed among women, the sharpest increases over the last year have been among African-American and Latinas.
In response to the increases in STDs, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) will be aligning resources and programming to address the disproportionate impact of STDs in communities of color, and among young people, transgender persons and men who have sex with men. It is crucial that public and private sector health care delivery partners help interrupt disease transmission through routine screening and treatment of both the presenting patient and their sexual partners. Public Health will be working closely with clinical providers to increase access to testing, reduce barriers to screening and treatment, and support provider training where appropriate. Innovative initiatives are planned that increase community awareness and healthy decision making, including the use of condoms. Public Health will continue to support robust condom distribution activities through its LA Condom program -- a large-scale condom awareness and distribution initiative that over the last several years has distributed more than 12 million condoms across 600 sites (http://lacondom.com). Young people will be invited to design social media campaigns that speak directly to positive youth development, and youth leaders will be asked to advise Public Health on appropriate strategies through a newly forming Public Health youth council. Reversing these trends will require active engagement among healthcare systems and meaningful partnerships between government partners, community-based organizations, faith-based institutions, educational institutions, elected and non-elected community leaders and community advocates. As part of this calling, Public Health works closely with WeCanStopSTDsLA, a community- driven collaborative effort focused on changing systems, practices and culture tied to STDs (www.WeCanStopSTDsLA.org).
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichea lth.lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lap ublichealth, facebook.co m/lapublichealth and youtube.com/ lapublichealth.