Arizona has among the highest prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases of any state in the U.S., and our rates have risen in recent years, which tracks with a trend happening nationally. In fact, the rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis have gone up in the U.S. every year for the past four years.
Which STDs are most common here in Arizona, how have their rates changed over time, and where in the state are the cities and counties with the highest concentrations of infected individuals? To understand the state of sexual health here in Arizona, we’ll look at data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Department of Health.
Chlamydia Rates in Arizona
Arizona has the 12th-highest chlamydia rate in the country after adjusting for population size, and the state’s rate of the STD is about 8% higher than the national level.
Chlamydia infections per 100,000 people
Chlamydia has become more common in Arizona every year for the past five years, and the rate has climbed by nearly one-quarter over that time period.
Arizona chlamydia rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)
Arizona’s chlamydia rate is the third-highest in the Western region of the U.S., though the state is still far below national leader Alaska, which has a rate more than 50% higher than the overall U.S. rate.
Chlamydia infection rate, Western states (cases per 100,000 people)
Gonorrhea Rates in Arizona
Arizona ranks No. 20 among all states in the prevalence of gonorrhea, and the state’s rate is about 5% higher than the overall national rate.
Gonorrhea infections per 100,000 people, top 20
The rate of gonorrhea in Arizona has climbed dramatically over the past six years, more than doubling in that time.
Arizona gonorrhea rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)
Arizona’s gonorrhea rate puts the state in fifth place among Western states.
Gonorrhea infection rate, Western states (cases per 100,000 people)
Syphilis Rates in Arizona
Arizona has one of the nation’s highest rates of primary and secondary syphilis, ranking No. 5, just behind fourth-place Louisiana.
Primary and secondary syphilis infections per 100,000 people
Syphilis has made a huge increase in Arizona since 2012, jumping by more than 300% between 2012 and 2017.
Arizona primary and secondary syphilis rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)
Three Western states rank among the states with the 10 highest rates of syphilis in the country, and Arizona is third in the region.
Primary and secondary syphilis infection rates, Western (cases per 100,000 people)
HIV & Other STD Rates in Arizona
More than 700 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Arizona in 2017, marking a nearly 6% increase over 2016. But the state’s population-adjusted rate of 10.9 per 100,000 is slightly lower than the national rate of 11.8 per 100,000. See best HIV test options.
Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C
Arizona has one of the lowest rates of acute hepatitis B infections (0.1 per 100,000 vs. 1 per 100,000 nationally), and the state has seen the rate drop by 60% since 2014. Arizona is one of eight states that did not report its rate of acute hepatitis C cases. See best hepatitis test options.
While it’s unknown how many people in Arizona currently are infected with human papillomavirus, the most common STD in the world, looking at rates of cancers related to HPV can help provide clarity about untreated HPV. That’s because HPV is the leading cause of several types of cancer, including cervical, penile and anal cancer. Arizona has the third-lowest rate of HPV-related cancer, 9.4 per 100,000, compared to the national median of 11.7 per 100,000. See best HPV test options.
STDs in Arizona Cities & Counties
While the state does rank among the highest in the nation in the prevalence of certain STDs, in some parts of the state, it’s a different picture. Some counties have far higher rates, and the Phoenix area is among the top 10 metro areas when it comes to its prevalence of one very dangerous STD.
Apache County in the northeast part of the state has the highest chlamydia rate of all Arizona counties.
Arizona counties by chlamydia infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)
Navajo County has the highest rate of gonorrhea in the state, but Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and Mesa, has the third-highest rate.
Arizona counties by gonorrhea infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)*
Primary and secondary syphilis
The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area, which includes Maricopa and Pinal counties, has the ninth-highest rate of syphilis among all major metros in the U.S., but Gila County has the highest rate of any Arizona county.
Arizona counties by primary and secondary syphilis infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)* **
* Unlisted counties had rates so low, they were unreported by the health department
** Includes primary, secondary and early latent syphilis
The picture of sexual health in Arizona is a mixed bag, with the state rating near the top for some STDs but in the middle or bottom for others. Still, the state has seen an increase in most sexually transmitted diseases, including some of the most dangerous, like HIV and syphilis. Getting Arizona’s STD rates moving in the right direction means getting tested for STDs you may be at risk of so you don’t unknowingly spread infections to your sexual partners. Remember that most STDs are easily treatable, so there’s no reason to fear to find out your status.
Take Charge of Your Sexual Health Today
At-home, private, testing is probably the best way to maintain a long and healthy sex life, and you should continue to do it until you are with a monogamous partner and you’ve both tested negative for all STDs. To get started, review our At Home STD Test Kit options today because knowledge, is power.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV Surveillance Report, Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2017. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/reports/surveillance/cdc-hiv-surveillance-report-2017-vol-29.pdf
- Arizona Department of Health, Annual STD Report 2017. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.azdhs.gov/documents/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/disease-integrated-services/std-control/reports/2017-std-annual-report.pdf
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2017. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/SRtables.pdf
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Surveillance for Viral Hepatitis – United States, 2016. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/2016surveillance/index.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV-Associated Cancer Rates by State, 2011-2015. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/statistics/state/index.htm
Note: Some states have published more recent data for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis. For states in which that’s the case, we have substituted the individual state data for 2018 and used that in our rankings, while other states’ rankings are based on 2017 numbers. In some cases, we assume that when the full national dataset is published by the CDC, states’ positions relative to other states will change some, though those changes are unlikely to be dramatic, since the CDC data comes from the states.