The number of reported sexually transmitted diseases in California has reached an all-time high, according to the state's Department of Public Health.
But California isn't alone; STDs have been on the rise over the past five years across the U.S. As the Times explains, "Experts blame the increases on falling condom use, fewer public health clinics and people having more sexual partners linked to dating apps".
See the CDPH's breakdown of the data here. Young women have the highest rates of chlamydia, while men have the highest rates of syphilis and gonorrhea.
There were 13,605 early syphilis cases reported in 2017, people reporting the first stage of the disease marked by sores in or around the mouth and genitals. "We all need to keep making the public aware of and encourage sexually-active individuals to get tested for STDs on a regular basis-and be treated, if and as necessary-and to also use tools like condoms to prevent or reduce the likelihood of infections". "Most people infected with an STD do not know it". Symptoms include abnormal discharge and a burning sensation during urination, though these signs may not appear for weeks.
Gonorrhea is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24. This represents an average infection rate of 34.3 cases per 100,000 Californians, higher than the national average of 8.7 per 100,000.
Therefore, in order to educate people and spread awareness about the alarming risks of STD, the health officials are now working with schools, community groups as well as youth organisations across California.
The state recorded the highest number of chlamydia cases since reporting started in 1990, the agency said.
How many cases were reported?Syphilis may also cause neurological problems, as well as permanent loss of vision and hearing. The syphilis rate for African-Americans were two times higher.
Since 2013, the number of babies in California born with congenital syphilis has more than quadrupled - to 278 previous year.