In 2019 alone, there were more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This marks the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.
The CDC’s data looked at states with the highest cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and congenital syphilis. The following numbers were collected from cases in 2019, the most recent data on file, and show a large increase from the reported 1.4 million cases in 2014.
USA TODAY has gathered a list of the top states with the highest reported STD cases below.
States with most cases of chlamydia
The top 10 included the following states, in order: Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, New York and Illinois.
The state ranked the lowest was New Hampshire. The U.S. total for 2019 was 1,808,703 cases.
Chlamydia is a common STD that affects both men and women. It is spread by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. It can be cured through medications.
Previous data: STDs at all-time-high: How did we get here?
The U.S. has reached a record breaking number of STD cases for the sixth consecutive year. (Photo: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
States with highest cases of gonorrhea
Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee led the U.S. with the highest cases of gonorrhea.
Vermont was ranked as the lowest for 2019, and there was a total of 616,392 cases in the U.S. that year.
Gonorrhea is spread in the same ways as chlamydia and is common, especially among young people ages 15-24 years. A pregnant mother can pass the infection to her baby during childbirth. Although the infection is curable with medicine, it is becoming harder to treat as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing.
States with highest cases of syphilis and congenital syphilis
The top states with syphilis are, in order: Nevada, New Mexico, Mississippi, California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida. In total there were 38,992 reported cases in the U.S. in 2019.
However for congenital syphilis, when the infection is passed on from a pregnant mother to a child, the data differ. The states with the most congenital syphilis cases are Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, California, Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas and Maryland. There were 1,870 cases reported in the U.S. in 2019.
Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with a syphilitic sore, known as a chancre. After taking medication, syphilis does not recur but a person can be re-infected.
If an infected mother goes untreated, CDC data show the mother is likely to pass syphilis to the child. Congenital syphilis is a disease that can result in miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths and deaths of newborns.
If a mother goes untreated, CDC data shows she is likely to pass syphilis to the child. (Photo: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
What are the rates among racial and ethnic minority groups?
The CDC data illustrate STD rates were 1-2 times higher for Hispanic and Latino populations than non-Hispanic white people. Rates for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations were 3-5 times higher than their white counterparts.
Data also showed STD rates were 5-8 times higher among Black populationss.
CDC data shows the disparities between ethnic and racial minority groups. (Photo: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
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