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California And L.A. Lead The U.S. With Record Numbers Of STD Cases, Study Finds

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Los Angeles County has the highest number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the country, according to a new report.

Reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are increasing nationwide, according to a report (pdf) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and in 2014, L.A. County was found to have the highest number incidents of all three STDs when compared to counties across the nation, reports the L.A. Times. In the same year, California was also found to have the highest rates of all three combined in the nation.

It's important to point out that part of the reason why L.A. topped the charts for reported cases when compared to the more than 3,000 counties across the nation is due to the fact that L.A. is home to more people than any other country, but also because of very high rates of infection. There are other smaller counties that have higher rates per capita. Here's how the L.A. Times breaks down the "alarming" numbers as the CDC describes them:

  • Chlamydia in the U.S.: 456 cases per 100,000 people
  • Chlamydia in California: 460 cases per 100,000 people
  • Chlamydia in L.A. County: 548 cases per 100,000 people
  • Gonorrhea in the U.S.: 111 cases per 100,000 people
  • Gonorrhea in California: 119 cases per 100,000 people
  • Gonorrhea in L.A. County: 153 cases per 100,000 people
  • Primary and secondary syphilis in the U.S.: 6 cases per 100,000 people
  • Primary and secondary syphilis in California: 10 cases per 100,000 people
  • Primary and secondary syphilis in L.A. County: 12 cases per 100,000 people

California also saw a spike in cases of congenital syphilis—where a mother infects a child during pregnancy—from 2012 to 2014 with reported cases rising from 30 to 100.
The report also points out that in 2014 there were 1.4 million cases of chlamydia nationwide, which is the highest number of annual cases for any condition that has ever been reported to the CDC, according to CNN.

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As startling as these record numbers are, the CDC points out that all three diseases are curable, but if left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause serious problems including infertility in women. Syphilis can also lead to blindness and other complications if left untreated.

In addition to encouraging the use of condoms during sex to help prevent the spread of the diseases, the CDC report also recommends frequent STD screenings for men and women who are sexually active.

"America's worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, told the Times.