Skip to Content
Department of Health Services

For Immediate Release

Celebrate Valentine's Day by Showing You Care: Know Your Status

Bay Area health officials urge precautions due to increases in STDs

Santa Rosa,CA | February 13, 2018

This Valentine’s Day, Bay Area health officials remind everyone who is sexually active to have a conversation with your primary care provider and to be screened regularly for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Across the country and in California, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have been increasing for the past five years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California has the highest number of cases among all states. Sonoma County follows similar statewide and national trends, where syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have increased since 2010. During this time period, the number of chlamydia cases has increased by a factor of 2, the number of gonorrhea by a factor of 6 and early syphilis by a factor of 8.

Having an untreated STD can increase your risk of HIV infection, infertility problems, long-term pelvic/abdominal pain, and complications in pregnancy. In addition, you risk passing the infection on to others. That is why getting tested is so important. Also, the rise in early syphilis cases, particularly among women, specifically increases the potential for congenital syphilis which can cause devastating outcomes for newborns including stillbirth or infant death.

“Partners need to speak with each other about their status, and what better time than now to have the conversation, get tested, and take precautions,” stated Dr. Karen Milman, Sonoma County Health Officer. “Knowing your status allows you and your partner to look after your health. If you do have an STD, you can take action to reduce the risk of passing it on to others and help prevent long-term health problems by getting treated.”

STDs are preventable and treatable. The following steps can help everyone reduce risk:

  • Ensure correct and effective condom use for all sexual activity
  • Get tested regularly
  • Get vaccinated as a safe and effective way to prevent Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Have fewer partners and open and honest conversations with them

It can be common to have an STD without experiencing any symptoms.

If you are sexually active, talk to your provider about being screened for STDs. Most STDs can be treated quickly and effectively by your provider. To find free or affordable confidential testing sites near you, visit

For more information about STDs in California, visit