SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County is not immune to a spike in sexually transmitted disease cases. The state and entire country is also reporting record high numbers of cases involving gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.
Santa Barbara County Public Health issued a press release Thursday explaining the increase has been going on since 2011.
• Gonorrhea: 212.9% increase (from 101 cases in 2011 to 316 cases in 2016)
• Syphilis: 400% increase (from 5 cases in 2011 to 25 cases in 2016)
• Chlamydia: 29.2% increase (from 1775 cases in 2011 to 2294 cases in 2016)
Health officials say many people don't display symptoms and may not know they are infected. Experts recommend that all sexually active adults discuss this with their healthcare providers and make it an annual routine to get screened for STD's to protect their health.
“It’s been clear to us for some time that rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea especially was rising. There was resurgence in syphilis actually over the last few years in Santa Barbara and the Central Coast," said Jenna Tosh, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of California Central Coast.
Tosh and her team have been keeping tabs on trends they've seen in their patients who are on average between the ages of 18 and 30. While technology and research have increased in the medical field, Tosh and many healthcare providers believe budget cuts in prevention education has affected the rise in STD's.
“Rates of Medi-Cal and family pact have been too low to cover the costs of most healthcare providers including PP for the last 10 years. So this past year, we worked with California state legislatures to increase funding for preventative health services like sexually transmitted infections testing and treatment," said Tosh.
Planned Parenthood has been treating patients with syphilis since the last year. Health officials recommend patients to get tested often to find out if they need to receive treatment.
“The later phases of syphilis can present some very serious health concerns, very serious neurological problems. There's a whole host of problems that are not seen in the early stages. It’s really important that a community knows that there’s a problem with an infection like syphilis," said Tosh.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis can be treated with antibiotics.
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