Innerbody, a leading healthcare technology company, recently released a report detailing the distressing rise of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the state of Florida. The study, conducted in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control’s latest STD data release, analyzed data on HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, and ranked the cities based on the worst rates of infection.
The results were alarming, with multiple locations across the Sunshine State making the list of worst cities for STDs. While Memphis, Tennessee, took the #1 spot, seven Florida cities made the 100-city list, with three making the top 25. This marks a troubling increase from last year, where four Florida cities were among the top 25.
Jacksonville topped the list of Florida cities with the worst infection rates at #16, with 997 cases per 100,000. Miami followed closely at #17 with 987 cases per 100,000, with Fort Lauderdale not far behind in the 19th slot, with 950 cases per 100,000. Other Florida cities with high infection rates include Orlando at 53rd, Tampa at 59th, West Palm Beach at 83rd, and Daytona Beach rounding out the list at 87th.
The CDC has reported that chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are the most commonly reported new infections. Chlamydia, in particular, saw a staggering jump in cases in the US, with 1,579,885 confirmed cases in 2020 and 1,644,416 cases in 2021 – a 64,531 case increase.
Joy Winheim, the executive director at Empath Partners in Care (EPIC), shared her thoughts on the concerning trend, citing a missed correlation between sexually risky behaviors and their impact on health. Winheim emphasized that STDs can have life-long, lasting effects, including female sterility, liver and kidney damage, and other complications.
According to Winheim, the stigma surrounding STDs can often prevent people from seeking much-needed healthcare, allowing STDs to spread rapidly. She and her team at EPIC are advocating for increased dialogue and awareness to combat the stigma and encourage individuals to prioritize their health.
As STD Awareness Month is currently underway, it is crucial to prioritize regular testing and understand the available resources in the community. Empath Partners in Care centers across Tampa Bay offer low-cost and sliding fee scale options for those without insurance, without work, or experiencing other extenuating circumstances. The organization’s locations can be found on their website. Additionally, STD testing can be obtained at local Health Department’s Community Health Centers.