California on front line as STDs run rampant in US

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - 

A billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood screams out a stark warning: "drug-resistant gonorrhea alert!"

The words are set against a black background and accompanied by a microscope shot of the gonococcus bacteria, which causes the illness now running rampant in California.

Sexually transmitted diseases have made an alarming resurgence across the United States, where 2016 saw a record two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, including 628 cases of congenital syphilis.

But California, the most populous US state, stands out for its willingness to tackle the crisis head-on, with cases of the three ailments up 45 percent in 2017 from five years ago.

Thirty babies were stillborn amid 300 reported cases of congenital syphilis, more than in any other US state last year.