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Alarming Rise of STDs in Georgia

STDs are on the rise in the U.S. at an alarming rate, particularly among women aged 15-24. According to the most recent data from the CDC, not only has the infection rate of STDs in the U.S. increased, but the state of Georgia has climbed to #3 in the country.


STDs are being spread among younger people ages 15-24 at a faster rate than any other age group. Not only is the age group increasing at a faster rate, but the CDC reports that in Georgia, adolescents account for 58% of all STDs.

Women Aged 15-24 Most Affected

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the worst STD infection rates are Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. The South makes up most of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases of all the states. Seven of the top ten states with the highest STD rates are in the south. The CDC says that testing for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.

In the data collected by the CDC, the sexually transmitted diseases that were tracked were chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. Georgia’s rates for these four STDs are 1,535 per 100,000. Of particular concern in Georgia was the increase in gonorrhea and syphilis, both of which can be dangerous if left untreated.

Most cases of syphilis and gonorrhea are found when a patient undergoes routine testing and has no symptoms at all. This is concerning and could be the reason behind the surge of these types of STDs. They are being spread because people are unaware that they have these STDs and are having unprotected sex.

Other STDs on the rise are HPV (human papillomavirus), herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis and hepatitis A, B and C.

Why the Sudden Increase of STDs in Georgia?

The cases of STDs in Georgia seem to be climbing at a faster pace than other states. Georgia public officials and those in the healthcare field are fully aware of this crisis and are looking into the potential causes and how to improve the STD infection rate.

In an article published in January 2023 by the Innerbody, the largest medical online testing company, the CDC data was analyzed to try to find the key trends and reasons behind the findings. One theory for the reason why the southern states, including Georgia, are highest in STDs is that many lack affordable healthcare. Healthcare is expensive for many, especially without insurance, so testing and treatment is out of reach for some as many rural areas do not have clinics where testing is available.

Alexander Millman, the Georgia Department of Public Health medical director shares, “Folks who are disproportionately affected generally tend to be patients who have limited access to healthcare.”

Officials and healthcare workers in Georgia say that another reason for the surge is that condoms are not being used as often during sex.

“Other factors for the rise are less frequent testing and the stigmas involved with testing and treatment.”

– Alexander Millman of the Georgia State Department of Health

What is Causing the Increase of STDs Among Adolescents?

Dr. Mike Litrel, an OB/GYN at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, GA, has been treating women with GYN problems for 30 years.

When asked his opinion on the rise of STDs among women ages 15-24 in Georgia, he says, “Younger women are often embarrassed to talk about sex. Sometimes they may feel pressured to have sex before they are mature enough to be ready for it. Sometimes they just want to do it and don’t want to deal with the consequences.

When signs of an infection begin, they may feel too embarrassed to seek treatment. In many STDs, symptoms don’t occur for a long period of time so if she is sexually active, it could have spread to multiple partners.”

“This stigma needs to stop. Women of all ages need to be empowered to take control of their own health.”

– Dr. Mike Litrel of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists

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