HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report this week that shows an increase in cases of several sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report ranked all 50 states.

In 2020, there were 2.4 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in the U.S.

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According to the CDC, jurisdictions reported more than 2,100 cases of congenital syphilis, an increase of almost 15% since 2019 and a 235% increase since 2016. Gonorrhea cases increased by 10% from 2019 to 2020, while reported cases of chlamydia declined 13%.

Since chlamydial infections are typically asymptomatic and identified through screening, the CDC says the decline in cases is likely due to the decrease in STD screenings during the pandemic, rather than a decrease in new infections.

“The COVID-19 pandemic increased awareness of a reality we’ve long known about STDs. Social and economic factors – such as poverty and health insurance status – create barriers, increase health risks, and often result in worse health outcomes for some people. If we are to make lasting progress against STDs in this country, we have to understand the systems that create inequities and work with partners to change them. No one can be left behind.”

Leandro Mena, MD, MPH, Director, CDC’s Division of STD Prevention
Courtesy: CDC

Top 10 states with chlamydia cases

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Alaska
  4. South Carolina
  5. North Carolina
  6. Georgia
  7. New Mexico
  8. Tennessee
  9. Alabama
  10. Illinois

Hawaii ranked No. 21 with 7,005 reported chlamydia cases.

Top 10 states with gonorrhea cases

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. South Carolina
  4. Alabama
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Missouri
  7. South Dakota
  8. Alaska
  9. Tennessee
  10. North Carolina

Hawaii ranked No. 43 with 1,484 reported gonorrhea cases.

Top 10 states with primary/secondary syphilis cases

  1. Nevada
  2. Mississippi
  3. Alaska
  4. Oklahoma
  5. New Mexico
  6. Arizona
  7. California
  8. Arkansas
  9. Georgia
  10. Florida

Hawaii ranked No. 16 with 182 reported primary and secondary syphilis cases.

Top 10 states with congenital syphilis cases

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arizona
  3. Texas
  4. Nevada
  5. Oklahoma
  6. California
  7. Louisiana
  8. Mississippi
  9. Alaska
  10. Hawaii

To see the full data, click here.

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Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2020 is a reminder that STDs remain a significant public health concern, even in the face of a pandemic.