Mississippi is the nation’s chlamydia and gonorrhea capital, figures reveal

Mississippi is chlamydia and gonorrhea capital of the US — while Nevada has the most syphilis cases per capita, official figures reveal.

Cases of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) hit record highs across America during the first year of the pandemic, despite normal testing being interrupted by Covid.

The outbreak was biggest in the Magnolia state thanks to a stigma around getting tested for the diseases and admitting to an infection, an epidemiologist in its department of health told DailyMail.com.

They added that poor healthcare coverage — leading many to put off getting tested — and rising rates of drug abuse were also fueling infection levels.

In Nevada, STD prevention workers have blamed that state’s growing hook-up culture leading to more anonymous sex via dating apps for higher rates of syphilis. More testing and less condom use were also considered to be attributing to the spread.

The figures for America’s 50 states come from the Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDCs) annual surveillance report for 2020, the latest available.

Overall, cases of the three STDs detected dropped slightly to 2.4 million in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the previous 12 months. But CDC officials warned this was likely due to a drop in testing, which had masked a real-terms rise in infections across the board.

The above map shows cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people across the 50 states of the US and territories.  It reveals that Mississippi has the highest case count for the sexually transmitted disease out of all states

The above map shows cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people across the 50 states of the US and territories. It reveals that Mississippi has the highest case count for the sexually transmitted disease out of all states

Chlamydia: Top and bottom ten states in US

TOP TEN STATES

1. Mississippi803.7 squares*

2. louisiana709.8

3. Alaska695.8

4. south carolina662.7

5. North Carolina616.3

6. georgia589.4

7. New Mexico576.3

8. Tennessee555.1

9. Alabama552.2

10. Illinois542.3

BOTTOM TEN STATES

50. Vermont179 squares*

49. New Hampshire215.6

48. Maine257.8

47. West Virginia303

46. Utah326.5

45. Wyoming338.8

44. Idaho351

43. New Jersey356.3

42. Connecticut356.7

41. Massachusetts361.3

* The figures are given as cases per 100,000 people in each state to allow for comparison

Gonorrhea: Top and bottom ten states in US

TOP TEN STATES

1. Mississippi462.8 squares*

2. louisiana333.1

3. south carolina324.4

4. Alabama294.2

5. Oklahoma283.1

6. Missouri274.6

7. south dakota274

8. Alaska270.9

9. Tennessee270.3

10. North Carolina269.4

BOTTOM TEN STATES

50. Vermont22.3 squares*

49. New Hampshire33.9

48. Maine38.7

47. Wyoming67.7

46. Idaho82.8

45. Utah97.1

44. West Virginia99.3

43. Hawaii104.8

42. Massachusetts108.7

41. New Jersey113.3

* The figures are given as cases per 100,000 people in each state to allow for comparison

The CDC report found gonorrhea cases have now hit their highest level for 30 years in the US, but officials suggest cases are likely even higher.  They say most went unreported, however, because of cuts to testing as resources were redirected to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic

The CDC report found gonorrhea cases have now hit their highest level for 30 years in the US, but officials suggest cases are likely even higher. They say most went unreported, however, because of cuts to testing as resources were redirected to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic

The above graph shows rates of syphilis across the US since 1940. It reveals that total syphilis cases (grey line) have risen to their highest level in 30 years, despite disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic

The above graph shows rates of syphilis across the US since 1940. It reveals that total syphilis cases (grey line) have risen to their highest level in 30 years, despite disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic

Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex when bodily fluids are exchanged.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea may trigger an unpleasant discharge from the penis or vaginal, or a burning sensation during urination when someone is infected — while syphilis leads to sores appearing over infected areas during the early stages.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be diagnosed with a urine test, while syphilis requires a blood sample. All three can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Syphilis: Top and bottom ten states in US

TOP TEN STATES

1. Nevada72 squares*

2. Mississippi71.6

3. New Mexico71.3

4. California66.9

5. Arizona61.3

6. Florida57.8

7. New York54.6

8. louisiana53.7

9. Texas53

10. georgia52.7

BOTTOM TEN STATES

50. Vermont3.7 squares*

49. Wyoming5.5

48. Maine6

47. New Hampshire8.8

46. Montana9.5

45. Idaho10.3

44. Utah10.9

43. north dakota11.9

42. Nebraska13.9

41. Wisconsin14.3

* The figures are given as cases per 100,000 people in each state to allow for comparison

Mississippi became the nation’s chlamydia capital in 2020 for the first time in eight years, taking the dubious title from Alaska. It has had the biggest gonorrhea outbreak in the country for five years running.

Nevada has been the nation’s syphilis capital for the latest three years data is available for, taking the top spot from Louisiana.

Chlamydia cases in Mississippi hit record levels in 2019 before falling slightly over the following year, although this may have been due to interruptions in surveillance.

Its gonorrhea cases have now reached a record high, and in Nevada syphilis cases fell slightly compared to the previous year.

Data for Washington DC was excluded because it has much better surveillance than other states, with anyone on its HIV prevention program required to get tested for STDs every three months.

For chlamydia — the most common STD in the US — Mississippi detected about one case for every 124 people in 2020.

Louisiana had the second-highest rate, at one in every 140, and Alaska the third highest, at one in every 143.

On the other end of the scale was Vermont with one case for every 558 people, followed by New Hampshire at one per 463 and Maine at one per 387.

For gonorrhea, Mississippi recorded one case for every 216 people—a record high. Louisiana had one box per 300 and South Carolina had one box per 308.

The states with the fewest cases of this STD were Vermont (one per 4,400), New Hampshire (one per 2,900) and Maine (one per 2,500).

Nevada had the biggest syphilis outbreak of all 50 states in during the first year of Covid with one case per 1,388 people, alongside Mississippi at one case per 1,390 people and New Mexico at one per 1,400.

Vermont (one per 27,000), Wyoming (one per 26,000) and Maine (one per 16,000) had the least cases of syphilis over the first year of the pandemic.

Mississippi’s state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers told DailyMail.com that STD rates were high in the state due to a myriad of factors.

‘High rates in Mississippi are impact by a number of factors including social determinants of health and inadequate access to care, negative impacts on health in communities with high social vulnerability, lack of health care coverage, which may contribute to a delay in seeking care, increases in drug use, and social stigmatization of being diagnosed with an STD,’ he said.

‘Some increases may certainly have been due to the interruption in routine healthcare access over the last two years.’

Mississippi is one of the least wealthy states in America, ranking at 37 out of 50 in terms of its gross domestic product (GDP) according to the Bureau of Economic Analyses. It ranks 17th for its death rate from drug overdose, figures from the CDC show.

The above map shows rates of gonorrhea across all 50 US states, the district of Columbia and territories in 2020, the latest available.  It reveals Mississippi had the highest gonorrhea rates

The above map shows rates of gonorrhea across all 50 US states, the district of Columbia and territories in 2020, the latest available. It reveals Mississippi had the highest gonorrhea rates

The above map shows syphilis rates across all 50 US states alongside the District of Columbia and territories in 2020, the latest available.  It shows Nevada has the highest rates

The above map shows syphilis rates across all 50 US states alongside the District of Columbia and territories in 2020, the latest available. It shows Nevada has the highest rates

Byers said more healthcare specialists trained in STDs were being recruited by the state to help limit infections, and that education programs was being expanded.

‘STDs are not a benign disease, we are seeing impacts with increased cases of congenital syphilis, unrecognized and untreated chlamydia can lead to infertility, certain STIs, including syphilis, can increase the risk of HIV,’ he added.

‘Our message is: Be protected, get tested, get treated and let your contacts know if you have been diagnosed with an STD.’

Nevada’s outbreak of syphilis was previously blamed on more casual sexual encounters via dating apps.

Jennifer Howell, who works in STD prevention in the state, told KUNR that this ‘takes people out of their social circle and exposes them to a new group or that has more influence on them’.

She warned more cases were being reported among gay and bi-sexual men, and also blamed drug abuse in the state.

‘Opioid use, that brings in another component, of people injecting drugs or putting themselves in situations to have sex, to support their drug habit — survival sex, which is exchanging sex for something that they need,’ Howell said.

Health officials in Las Vegas have also previously blamed less testing for the disease — leading to more cases going un-diagnosed and spreading — and people using condoms less.

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