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Gonorrhea, syphilis cases up in San Diego

Posted: 12:15 PM, Jan 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-08 20:15:44Z

SAN DIEGO - The number of cases of gonorrhea and syphilis increased in the San Diego region in 2014, compared to the previous year, but the region bucked a national trend with the rate of chlamydia infections dropping, county health officials said.

Gonorrhea cases jumped 18 percent, from 2,865 cases in 2013 to 3,391 cases in 2014, the last year for which final statistics are available.

The rate of gonorrhea in males was more than double that of females. Men between the ages of 20 and 29 had the highest rate of infection, according to the county.

The number of syphilis infections climbed 6 percent, from 347 cases in 2013 to 369 in 2014.

The majority of syphilis cases were reported in men, especially men who have sex with other men. Black men had the highest rate of infection, almost double that of white males, county health officials said.

"Gonorrhea and syphilis cases increased across the nation in 2014, and San Diego was no exception," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "It is important that sexually active people continue to take precautionary measures to avoid getting infected with these and other sexually transmitted diseases."

Gonorrhea and syphilis cases also increased nationwide, as did chlamydia.

However, the number of chlamydia cases in 2014 in San Diego County fell for the second year in a row, from just over 16,000 to 15,626. Chlamydia is the most prevalent STD in the region, and is found in twice as many women as men.

"Young women between 15 and 24 years of age have the highest rate of chlamydia infections," said Dr. M. Winston Tilghman, senior physician and STD controller for the county. "Chlamydia and gonorrhea both can result in infertility and other long-term reproductive health issues, which make prevention particularly important in this age group."

The county offers a free home testing program for gonorrhea and chlamydia, available to women 25 years old and younger. The program can be accessed online at DontThinkKnow.org or by calling (619) 692-5669.

The county also participates in a program that screens young women entering San Diego's juvenile detention facility for STDs and provides treatment to those who have a positive test.

Four STD clinics are operated by the county, offering testing and treatment for most STDs regardless of a patient's ability to pay. More information about STDs and testing services are available at STDSanDiego.org, or (619) 293-4700.