Gonorrhea is on the rise across the country, but San Francisco is outpacing the nationwide trend. Go SF! Always ahead of the curve!

The CDC just released its most recent surveillance report of sexually transmitted diseases, finding Gonorrhea cases rose 45% between 2016 and 2020. San Francisco’s Department of Public Health has even more recent numbers which show the rise continued in the Bay, rising by 64% between January 2021 and January 2022.

Gonorrhea and its rising prevalence has been an issue in San Francisco for a couple decades now. In 2013, an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea made headlines, and in 2014 the disease mutated again. That particular tough-to-beat strain of the clap originated right here in San Francisco, health officials said. SFist reported in 2019 that SF led the nation in syphilis infections and came in third in the entire country for gonorrhea cases that year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus made surveillance prevention efforts difficult, which in turn makes control strategies tough to map out.

The report, the CDC says, “Serves as a reminder that STDs remain a significant public health concern, even in the face of a pandemic…This report reflects the realities of a strained public health infrastructure.”

Gonorrhea is nothing new – the Journal of Skin and Sexually Transmitted Diseases documents that it’s been around just about as long as humanity as. References of similar-sounding diseases come up in Leviticus; an ancient Chinese emperor described it in a book written in 2600 BC; and the Greek physician Galen gave gonorrhea its name before 200 AD.

The San Francisco City Clinic offers low-cost testing for sexually transmitted infections, as well as diagnosis and treatment on a walk-in basis that you can access even without health insurance.

Nationwide, chlamydia cases were slightly up and syphilis was slightly down, the CDC says. However, syphilis in newborns is on the rise in the United States, with cases tripling between 2016 and 2020. Of all STI cases combined, California led the nation in infections total, but that’s largely due to its population size – the Golden State ranks 32 out of 50 for case rate per 100,000 people.

Photo: CDC