When it comes to health and wellness, our sexual health should be a priority and across the country, sexually transmitted infections are on the rise. Three Tennessee cities are among the 100 with the highest STD rates - and one of those cities tops the list.

Who Is At Risk?

Anyone sexually active is at risk for sexually transmitted infections. In the United States alone, there are over 110 million people currently infected and a staggering 20 million new infections are reported each year. Some infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea, if left untreated, can result in infertility.

All Sexually Transmitted Infections are Preventable

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), sometimes also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are incredibly common. While not all STDs are curable, all of them are preventable. To protect yourself against STDs, the CDC suggests a number of options including abstinence, mutual monogamy, vaccines, and condom use. Learn more about STD prevention and treatment at CDC.gov.

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STDs pass from one person to another through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. They also can spread through intimate physical contact like heavy petting, though this is not very common. STDs don’t always cause symptoms or may only cause mild symptoms. Therefore, it is possible to have an infection and not know it. That is why getting an STD test is important if you are having sex. If you receive a positive STD diagnosis, know that all are treatable with medicine and some are curable entirely. - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Southern States Are Some of the Most Hard Hit

In a study performed by Innerbody, the statistics show which cities across the United States have the highest rates of STDs. Many of the southern states are home to some of the hardest-hit cities.

The South continues to be disproportionately represented among the hardest-hit cities. Of the Top 25, 14 are Southern cities.

The study also looks at the correlation between state spending on healthcare and the prevalence of STD cases.

17 of the Top 25 cities with the highest STD rates are located in states with healthcare spending below the national average of $10,191 per capita.

The Top Three States

Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina are among the states with the lowest healthcare spending per capita, so it is no surprise that they are home to the top 3 cities with the highest rate of STDs.

Most Prevalent STDs

Innerbody also breaks down some other key information, including which STDs are the most prevalent.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis top the list of most commonly reported new STD infections. While reported cases of chlamydia dropped by just over a percent since 2016, cases of gonorrhea and syphilis rose by 45% and 52%, respectively.
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Memphis, Tennessee Tops the List

Memphis, Tennessee tops the list in the number one spot. With 9,681 cases of chlamydia and a reported 4,772 cases of gonorrhea. Other diseases like syphilis and HIV are also present in the city. Overall, there are 1,460 cases of STDs for every 100,000 people in the city.

More Tennessee Cities on the List

Nashville, Tennessee ranks in the 39th with 828 cases of STDs for every 100,000 people in the city. There are 135 reported cases of HIV, 9,753 cases of chlamydia, and a reported 4,451. There are also 410 cases of syphilis reportedly present in the city.

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In Knoxville, there are 609 cases of STDs for every 100,000 people. There are 3,637 cases of chlamydia, 1,520 cases of gonorrhea, 37 cases of HIV, and 83 cases of syphilis in the city. This puts Knoxville at #71 on the list.

What To Do If You Suspect You Have Been Exposed to an STD

If you suspect you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, you can find resources regarding testing by visiting the CDC website or by contacting your local health department.

[Source: CDC; Innerbody]

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang