US STD Rate at All-Time High | Here’s Which States Have the Highest Rates

In 2016, Americans were infected with the highest number of sexually transmitted diseases ever reported, according to data released by the Center for Disease Control Tuesday. This included more than 2 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The infection rate varied a great deal from state to state.

STD educational material is given out

Linda Williams, a medical assistant, brings STD educational material to a patient at a Planned Parenthood health center on May 12, 2017 in Miami. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

By far, the most common of the three diseases was chlamydia, with 1.6 million cases reported last year. The five states with the highest chlamydia rate per 100,000 people were Alaska (772), Louisiana (679), Mississippi (672), New Mexico (629), and Georgia (615). To see how each state ranked, visit the CDC report page.

On the other end of the spectrum, the five states with the lowest chlamydia rate were Utah (315), Maine (313), Vermont (270), West Virginia (261), and New Hampshire (261).

“Clearly, we need to reverse this disturbing trend,” said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, adding, “The CDC cannot do this alone, and we need every community in America to be aware that this risk is out there and help educate their citizens on how to avoid it.”

The second most common of the STDs covered in the CDC’s report was gonorrhea, with 469,000 cases reported last year. The five states with the highest rate per 100,000 people were Mississippi (239), Louisiana (231), Georgia (201), Alaska (197), and North Carolina (196).

The five states with the lowest rates of gonorrhea per 100,000 were Wyoming (47), Idaho (38), New Hampshire (34), Maine (34), and Vermont (20).

Preventing STDs is essential to “mounting an effective national response,” the CDC wrote in its report. The report explains that antibiotics can cure chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, but if the infections are left untreated, they put people at risk for “severe, lifelong health outcomes like chronic pain, severe reproductive health complications, and HIV.”

A view of condoms

A view of condoms at an event held by the Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commission on Dec. 1, 2016 in Bridgetown, Barbados. | Chris Jackson / Pool/Getty Images

The third most common of the diseases covered in the report was syphilis (primary and secondary), with 28,000 cases reported in 2016. States with the highest per 100,000 rate were Louisiana (16), Nevada (15), California (15), Georgia (13), and New York (12).

States with the lowest syphilis rates per 100,000 were Iowa (3), Wisconsin (2), Montana (1), Wyoming (1), and Alaska (1).

The CDC report did not include data for other STDs such as HIV and herpes because these diseases are not required by law to be reported to the CDC by physicians. With these diseases factored in, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new STD cases in the United States annually.