With COVID-19 dominating the news for the past few years, statistics about the high STD disease rates in the United States have flown under the radar. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new data in its STD Surveillance report showing an alarming increase in STD outbreaks.
While COVID-19 is still on our minds, we should not overlook the countless other viruses affecting average Americans. As government statistics show, STDs impact well above 110 million United States residents. A majority of these infections occur in cities with the highest STD rates in the country, where viruses can spread quickly.
The Most Prevalent STDs in the United States
Reports from U.S. cities with the most STDs show HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia to be the four most common diseases in urban areas within the United States. Examining each illness and the prevalence of the disease in major U.S. cities can help us understand how these STDs spread and what the average American should look out for when it comes to protecting their health.
HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, attacks the immune system, making it difficult for the body to protect itself. If untreated, it can develop into AIDS, which can be fatal in many cases. HIV does not have a cure and remains in an infected person for life. Although not all carriers experience symptoms, some common symptoms include fever, night sweats, rash, chills, and a sore throat.
Gonorrhea, caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, is an STD that infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive organs in men or women. The bacteria can cause extreme discomfort in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and urethra for women. Symptoms include discharge, anal discomfort, soreness, bleeding, and bowel pains.
Syphilis, a bacterial infection that spreads through sexual contact, often develops as a painless sore on the genitals, mouth, or rectum. After infection, the bacteria spread through contact with the sores. Although we can treat early-stage syphilis with penicillin, a lack of treatment can lead to life-threatening complications that affect the heart, brain, and other organs.
Similar to gonorrhea, chlamydia are bacteria that attack human reproductive organs and inhabit the urethra, throat, rectum, or cervix. While women do not often experience symptoms, chlamydia can damage fallopian tubes and cause infertility, as well as lead to birthing complications.
Common symptoms of chlamydia include vaginal discharge, penis discharge, painful urination, discomfort during sex, testicular pain, and vaginal bleeding.
Getting an STD Test
Thousands of people, regardless of their sexual history, are unaware they have an STD. Due to increasing rates of STDs, sexually active Americans need to take precautionary measures. In conjunction with protection, STD testing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the spread of these diseases. If caught early on, treatment can prevent life-threatening complications and chronic issues that can develop from infection.
Instead of waiting for symptoms to develop, taking a rapid STD test is a proactive step you can take to protect your health, especially if you think you may be at risk.
At Rapid STD Testing, we understand the threat that STDs pose to your well-being. That’s why we provide same-day STD testing to help our patients keep track of their sexual health.
The Top 10 Cities in the U.S. with STDs
STDs can spread rapidly in areas with high population densities. With more people interacting daily, more opportunities arise for disease transmission. Because the statistics concerning STDs can be alarming, it may be helpful to know where these diseases have the highest rates of transmission within the U.S. So, what city has the highest STD rate? Below, we’ll rank the hardest-hit cities according to their transmission rates, from lowest to highest.
Since HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are the four most prevalent STDs, our statistics will cover the prevalence of these illnesses in each area in this list of cities.
10. Fayetteville, NC
At number ten on our list, Fayetteville, NC, has an infection rate of 2,255 cases per 100,000 residents. Chlamydia ranks as the most common STD in the city, with gonorrhea following at nearly half the frequency. Notably, like several other cities with military bases on this list, Fayetteville, NC, has a large military personnel population, which may contribute to the high rates of STDs.
Metro Population – 332,330
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,255
- HIV – 1,368
- Gonorrhea – 1,741
- Syphilis – 49
- Chlamydia – 4,337
9. Knoxville, TN
Number nine on our list, Knoxville, TN, has an infection rate of 2,314 per 100,000 residents. Like Fayetteville, the most common STD in the city is chlamydia, which constitutes the majority of STD cases in the area.
Metro Population – 465,289
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,314
- HIV – 960
- Gonorrhea – 1,626
- Syphilis – 34
- Chlamydia – 3,710
8. Montgomery, AL
Montgomery, AL, makes our list at number eight with an STD infection rate of 2,365 per 100,000 residents. Like the previous cities, chlamydia ranks as the most common STD in the city. Home to the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Montgomery also has a large population of military personnel living within the city limits.
Metro Population – 225,763
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,365
- HIV – 1,470
- Gonorrhea – 1,226
- Syphilis – 75
- Chlamydia – 2,569
7. New York, NY
As the most populous city in the U.S., it comes as no surprise that New York, NY, made our list of cities with the highest STD rates. However, while New York City does contain the highest number of STD infections on our list, the number of cases is offset by its large population, which places it at number seven.
Metro Population – 8,380,000
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,544
- HIV – 97,206
- Gonorrhea – 28,394
- Syphilis – 1,952
- Chlamydia – 74,014
6. Augusta, GA
Augusta, GA, makes our list at number six, with an STD infection rate of 2,596 per 100,000 residents. As one of the smallest cities on our list, Augusta contains a disproportionately high rate of syphilis cases relative to its population size.
Metro Population – 201,554
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,596
- HIV – 1,400
- Gonorrhea – 1,100
- Syphilis – 97
- Chlamydia – 2,636
5. Washington, DC
Although not technically a city (it’s a district), we’ve included Washington, DC, on our list at number five. D.C. has an STD infection rate of 2,771 cases per 100,000 residents. Chlamydia is the most prevalent and quickly spreading STD within the city’s boundaries.
Metro Population – 1,773,266
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,771
- HIV – 62
- Gonorrhea – 2,236
- Syphilis – 865
- Chlamydia – 17,589
4. Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA, has an STD infection rate of 2,827 cases per 100,000 residents. The most prevalent STDs in the city are chlamydia and HIV. The rate of HIV in Philadelphia is proportionally higher than most other cities on our list.
Metro Population – 1,584,138
STD Cases per 100K People – 2,827
- HIV – 16,917
- Gonorrhea – 7,043
- Syphilis – 470
- Chlamydia – 20,354
3. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA, makes our list at number three, with an infection rate of 3,150 cases per 100,000 residents. HIV is the most common STD in the city, with chlamydia being the second most common.
Metro Population – 883,305
STD Cases per 100K People – 3,150
- HIV – 12,149
- Gonorrhea – 5,593
- Syphilis – 579
- Chlamydia – 9,505
2. Baltimore, MD
Baltimore, MD, comes in at number two on our list, with an infection rate of 3,707 cases per 100,000 residents. Like San Francisco, the most prevalent STD in Baltimore is HIV.
Metro Population – 602,495
STD Cases per 100K People – 3,707
- HIV – 9,441
- Gonorrhea – 3,982
- Syphilis – 312
- Chlamydia – 8,602
1. Jackson, MS
As the number one city for STDs, Jackson, MS, has an infection rate of 4,281 cases per 100,000 people. With the highest rate of STDs out of American cities, Jackson also has one of the lowest populations on our list, which means that city residents have a higher likelihood of contracting STDs at some point in their life.
As a hotbed for STDs, Jackson has risen on our list from the number 15 city to the number 1 ranked city on our list. Chlamydia and HIV represent the bulk of infections, with gonorrhea coming in as the third-most-common STD.
Metro Population – 237,085
STD Cases per 100K People – 4,281
- HIV – 2,541
- Gonorrhea – 2,081
- Syphilis – 100
- Chlamydia – 3,984
If you live in one of the cities on this list or think you may be experiencing STD symptoms, you may want to consider taking regular STD tests to monitor your health. At Rapid STD Testing, we provide all the testing support you need to help you protect yourself and your loved ones from STDs.
Government Intervention in Cities with the Highest STD Rates
Since the recent rise in STD rates across the country, the CDC has stepped up its efforts to combat the growing crisis. To promote sexual health, the federal government is working with medical experts, city officials, wellness clinics, and medical providers to provide Americans access to health care clinic sites in the hardest-hit areas.
The CDC has increased its STD surveillance in all fifty states, tracking the spread and transmission of some of the most common sexually transmitted illnesses. The effort focuses on linking patients with treatment clinics and addressing the disproportionately high rates of STDs in minority and youth communities. In cities like Los Angeles, clinic closures have contributed to the nearly 80% increase in syphilis cases among residents.
As part of this initiative, the CDC has allocated funding to train disease intervention specialists (DIS), who will be responsible for tracking and spreading awareness in populations where residents have a high likelihood of exposure to STDs. With over 1,600 DIS agents already in the field, their efforts and impact are only increasing.
As the first step to controlling this epidemic, the CDC recommends frequent STD testing for sexually active adults.
Thankfully, tests are widely available. Rapid STD Testing provides comprehensive 10-panel STD tests that cover all major STDs. Knowing the status of your sexual health can be the first step to getting the treatment you need.
Combating the STD Epidemic One Test at a Time
At Rapid STD Testing, our company is at the forefront in rapid STD testing technology. We’ve helped countless residents across the U.S. and in cities with the highest STD rates.