skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

San Diego County Gonorrhea Cases Up 10% In 2013

The number of gonorrhea cases diagnosed in San Diego County last year was 10 percent higher than the year before, according to an annual report of sexually-transmitted diseases released Monday by the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Aired 7/29/14 on KPBS News.

Preventing sexually-transmitted diseases is part of the county's "Live Well San Diego" initiative, which aims to improve the health and well-being of local residents.

The number of gonorrhea cases went from 2,597 in 2012 to 2,865 last year, with the bulk of the increase among men. Women account for less than one-third of the infections reported in the county, according to the health agency.

The agency also reported that primary and secondary syphilis cases increased by 4 percent, from 333 cases in 2012 to 347 cases last year — with the vast majority occurring in men.

Meanwhile, the number of chlamydia cases dropped by 4 percent, from 16,538 cases in 2012 to 16,042 in 2013.

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in San Diego and California, and young women between 15 and 24 years of age continue to have the highest rates of infection, according to the health agency.

"A decline in chlamydia cases was reported for the first time in several years, and that is good news for San Diego County," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "However, this is just a one-year drop. Sexually active individuals should continue to take precautionary measures to avoid getting infected with chlamydia and other STDs, especially since gonorrhea and syphilis cases went up."

Dr. M. Winston Tilghman, a senior physician and STD controller for the county, said the reasons behind the trend aren’t clear.

“Part of it could be that we are doing a better job of detecting cases of syphilis, meaning that people are getting tested more frequently. Another possibility is that there’s an increase in risk behavior,” he explained.

Preventing sexually-transmitted diseases is part of the county's "Live Well San Diego" initiative, which aims to improve the health and well-being of local residents.

"Young women are particularly susceptible to long-term complications of STDs since they can result in infertility and other long-term reproductive health problems," Tilghman said. "Individuals can decrease their risk of STDs by talking openly about them with their partners, using condoms, practicing mutual monogamy and getting tested on a regular basis."

San Diego saw the number of chlamydia cases drop by 4 percent last year. Even so, there were more than 16,000 cases countywide in 2013.

As in the rest of the state, profound racial disparities exist with regard to STDs. Blacks have the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and early syphilis, according to the HHSA report.

The county has implemented a free home testing program for gonorrhea and chlamydia available to women 25 years old and younger. The "Don't Think. Know" program can be accessed by visiting DontThinkKnow.org or by calling (619) 692-5669.

The county also operates four STD clinics, which offer testing and treatment for most STDs on a walk-in basis. More information about STDs and testing services can be obtained by visiting STDSanDiego.org, or calling (619) 293-4700.

Please stay on topic and be as concise as possible. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Community Discussion Rules. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus