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

Highest
Alaska 799.8
Louisiana 742.4
Mississippi 707.6
New Mexico 651.6
South Carolina 649.8
Georgia 623.7
Alabama 615.5
North Carolina 612.2
New York 591.6
Arizona 571.8
Total 528.8
Lowest
Minnesota 426.4
Massachusetts 425.7
New Jersey 392
Idaho 368.4
Wyoming 365.8
Maine 342.1
Utah 332.2
New Hampshire 330.5
Vermont 297.5
West Virginia 226.1

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)

2012 464.6
2013 461.2
2014 481.3
2015 483
2016 511.5
2017 571.8

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)

Alaska 799.8
New Mexico 651.6
Arizona 571.8
California 557.4
Nevada 553.1
Colorado 487.2
Hawaii 479.5
Oregon 455.2
Washington 442.2
Montana 437.4
Idaho 368.4
Wyoming 365.8
Utah 332.2

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

Mississippi 309.8
Alaska 295.1
Louisiana 256.7
South Carolina 254.4
Alabama 245.7
Oklahoma 231.4
Arkansas 224.5
North Carolina 220.9
Georgia 217.5
Ohio 216.3
New Mexico 215.7
Missouri 214.8
California 192
Nevada 187.8
Delaware 187.4
Tennessee 186.8
Illinois 186.4
Maryland 182.5
Arizona 180.5
Indiana 177.5
Total 171.9

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)

2012 88.6
2013 96.8
2014 115.1
2015 123
2016 151.3
2017 180.5

Arizona’s gonorrhea rate puts the state in fifth place among Western states.

Gonorrhea infection rate, Western states (cases per 100,000 people)

Alaska 295.1
New Mexico 215.7
California 192
Nevada 187.8
Arizona 180.5
Colorado 153
Washington 136
Oregon 122.7
Hawaii 95.1
Utah 83.3
Montana 75
Wyoming 70.4
Idaho 58.6

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

Highest
Nevada 20
California 17.1
Louisiana 14.5
Georgia 14.5
Arizona 13.1
New York 11.9
Florida 11.6
North Carolina 10.6
Mississippi 10.4
Total 9.5
Lowest
South Dakota 3.8
West Virginia 3.4
New Hampshire 3.2
Iowa 3.2
Connecticut 3.1
Wisconsin 3
Nebraska 2.3
Vermont 2.1
Alaska 1.8
Wyoming 0.7

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)

2012 3.1
2013 4.3
2014 8.6
2015 8.6
2016 10.3
2017 13.1

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)

Nevada 20
California 17.1
Arizona 13.1
Washington 9.3
New Mexico 9.3
Oregon 8.6
Hawaii 6.6
Colorado 5.3
Montana 4.6
Utah 3.8
Idaho 3.8
Alaska 1.8
Wyoming 0.7

HIV & Other STD Rates in Arizona

HIV

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.

HPV

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.

Chlamydia

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)

Apache 874.0
Navajo 803.4
Coconino 751.6
Pima 652.6
Maricopa 597.5
Yuma 597.2
Santa Cruz 550.2
Graham 500.0
Gila 403.3
Pinal 384.0
La Paz 374.1
Cochise 361.8
Mohave 261.1
Greenlee 260.1
Yavapai 215.5

Gonorrhea

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)*

Navajo 305.4
Apache 228.4
Maricopa 210.1
La Paz 162.4
Pima 154.8
Coconino 150.5
Gila 138.2
Graham 127.7
Pinal 125.9
Yuma 116.7
Santa Cruz 102.2
Mohave 77.5
Cochise 77.1
Yavapai 38.1

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)* **

Gila 97.1
Graham 37.2
Maricopa 27.2
Apache 19.1
Pima 18
Coconino 17.7
Pinal 14.6
Yuma 12.2
Navajo 10
Cochise 8.7
Mohave 2.9

 * Unlisted counties had rates so low, they were unreported by the health department

** Includes primary, secondary and early latent syphilis

Conclusion

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.

Additional References

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.