Connecticut routinely ranks among the states with the lowest prevalence of several common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis. But while the state’s picture of sexual health is largely positive when considering where things stand now, it’s much less positive when stepping back and examining recent trends. That’s because Connecticut’s rates of most STDs are moving in the wrong direction, which is a trend that’s also being seen nationally, as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported four straight years of increases in the overall national rate of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

So which STDs are most common here in Connecticut, how has their prevalence changed in our state over time, and which locales across Connecticut are hotbeds of sexually transmitted diseases and infections? To explore this issue further and answer those questions, we’ll consider data from the CDC as well as the Connecticut State Department of Public Health.

Chlamydia Rates in Connecticut

Connecticut ranks near the middle of the nation when it comes to the population-adjusted rate of chlamydia infections, though the state’s rate is only about 5% lower than the overall U.S. rate.

Chlamydia infections per 100,000 people, bottom 25

Connecticut 496.3
Virginia 488.3
Florida 485.2
Wisconsin 485
Colorado 481.3
Hawaii 479.5
Kansas 466.2
Nebraska 450.7
Oregon 450
Minnesota 444
Iowa 443.2
Washington 442.2
Pennsylvania 441.5
Montana 437.4
Kentucky 435.4
North Dakota 432.5
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
Total 528.8

The rate of chlamydia cases in Connecticut has gone up every year since 2013 and has more than doubled from the 20th-century low recorded in 2000.

Connecticut chlamydia rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)

1992 262.6
1993 230.9
1994 215.3
1995 193.6
1996 187.9
1997 190.2
1998 222.7
1999 211.1
2000 211
2001 214.5
2002 274.2
2003 256.7
2004 273.6
2005 316.9
2006 313.9
2007 329.9
2008 355.4
2009 345.2
2010 354.7
2011 381.5
2012 376.4
2013 360.5
2014 365.2
2015 365.5
2016 387.4
2017 496.3

Only one Northeastern state, New York, ranks among the 10 states with the highest chlamydia rates, but Connecticut’s rate is high enough for third in the region.

Chlamydia infection rate, Northeastern states (cases per 100,000 people)

New York 591.6
Rhode Island 500
Connecticut 496.3
Pennsylvania 441.5
Massachusetts 425.7
New Jersey 392
Maine 342.1
New Hampshire 330.5
Vermont 297.5

 Gonorrhea Rates in Connecticut

Connecticut ranks 38th overall for its population-adjusted rate of gonorrhea infections, and the state’s rate is about 36% lower than the nation’s rate overall.

Gonorrhea infections per 100,000 people, bottom 25

Florida 153.7
Colorado 151.1
South Dakota 149.1
Virginia 143.3
Minnesota 142
Nebraska 139.1
Washington 136
Wisconsin 135
North Dakota 127.4
Oregon 121.3
Iowa 119.9
Pennsylvania 119.2
Connecticut 109.4
Massachusetts 106.5
New Jersey 105.5
Rhode Island 102.9
Hawaii 95.1
Utah 83.3
Montana 75
West Virginia 70.8
Wyoming 70.4
Idaho 58.6
Maine 46.6
New Hampshire 38.4
Vermont 32.5
Total 171.9

Connecticut’s gonorrhea rate has increased every year since 2014, and it’s gone up by nearly two-thirds over the past 10 years.

Connecticut gonorrhea rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)

1992 170.8
1993 140.6
1994 143.5
1995 122
1996 101.5
1997 94.2
1998 101.8
1999 91.8
2000 80.1
2001 70.2
2002 90.6
2003 84.4
2004 81.9
2005 79
2006 75
2007 66.9
2008 79.7
2009 72.7
2010 71.8
2011 68.4
2012 61.2
2013 81.6
2014 61.8
2015 58.1
2016 76.1
2017 109.4

No Northeastern state ranks among the top 10, and the highest-ranking Northeastern state, New York, comes in 20th of the 50 states. Connecticut has the third-highest gonorrhea rate in the Northeastern region.

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

New York 172.7
Pennsylvania 119.2
Connecticut 109.4
Massachusetts 106.5
New Jersey 105.5
Rhode Island 102.9
Maine 46.6
New Hampshire 38.4
Vermont 32.5

Syphilis Rates in Connecticut

Connecticut’s rate of primary and secondary syphilis infections, the two earliest syphilis stages, is the fifth-lowest of the 50 states, and the state’s rate is less than one-third of the overall U.S. rate.

Primary and secondary syphilis infections per 100,000 people

Highest
Nevada 20
California 17.1
Georgia 14.5
Louisiana 14.5
Arizona 13.1
Maryland 12.2
New York 11.9
Florida 11.6
North Carolina 10.6
Mississippi 10.4
Total 9.5
Lowest
Idaho 3.8
West Virginia 3.4
Iowa 3.2
New Hampshire 3.2
Connecticut 3.1
Wisconsin 3
Nebraska 2.3
Vermont 2.1
Alaska 1.8
Wyoming 0.7

Rates of primary and secondary syphilis have climbed steadily in Connecticut in recent years, but are still far below the high levels seen in the early 1990s.

Connecticut primary and secondary syphilis rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)

1992 7.6
1993 4.5
1994 3.2
1995 2.6
1996 3.2
1997 1.9
1998 0.7
1999 0.5
2000 0.4
2001 0.4
2002 0.8
2003 0.8
2004 1.3
2005 1.6
2006 1.8
2007 1.1
2008 0.9
2009 1.9
2010 2.8
2011 1.9
2012 2.3
2013 1.5
2014 2.4
2015 2.6
2016 3.1
2017 3.1

Connecticut has the second-lowest syphilis rate in the Northeastern region.

Primary and secondary syphilis infection rates, Northeastern states (cases per 100,000 people)

New York 11.9
Massachusetts 7.9
Rhode Island 6.7
Pennsylvania 6.2
New Jersey 5.6
Maine 4.9
New Hampshire 3.2
Connecticut 3.1
Vermont 2.1

HIV & Other STD Rates in Connecticut

HIV

More than 260 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Connecticut in 2017, and the state ranks in the bottom half of the nation for HIV prevalence. However, the state did see an increase in the HIV rate between 2016 and 2017, though the increase was a modest one at just 1%. See Best Ways to Test for HIV

Hepatitis B & C

Acute infections of both hepatitis B and hepatitis C occur in Connecticut at lower rates than the two viral infections occur nationally, and Connecticut has seen rates of both decline in recent years. Connecticut’s rate of acute hep B is only about 20% of the national rate, and the viral infection has become about half as common in our state over the past few years. The state’s acute hep C rate is roughly half the national rate, and it’s fallen by more than 44% since 2012. See Best Ways to Test for Hepatitis C

HPV

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common STD in the world, and nearly all sexually active people will contract it at some point. It’s so common, in fact, that pinpointing precise frequency in the population is virtually impossible. But we can begin to understand the prevalence of HPV in Connecticut by examining the rate of HPV-related cancers. While HPV is usually harmless, a few strains of the virus can lead to serious health consequences, including several types of cancer, such as cervical, penile and anal cancer. These types of cancers occur in Connecticut at  rate of 11.6 per 100,000, just under the national median of 11.7 per 100,000, meaning that Connecticut is quite representative of the nation as a whole when it comes to HPV-related cancer. See Best Ways to Test for HPV

STDs in Connecticut Cities & Counties

As a state, Connecticut generally has among the nation’s lowest rates of several common STDs. But looking at city- and county-level infection rates reveals a more complex picture.

Chlamydia

About 1 in 3 chlamydia cases occur in the cities of Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven.

Connecticut counties by chlamydia infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)

New Haven 448.0
Hartford 446.0
Fairfield 301.0
New London 300.0
Windham 256.0
Middlesex 182.0
Tolland 161.0
Litchfield 150.0

Gonorrhea

Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven account for about 2 in 5 gonorrhea cases in Connecticut.

Connecticut counties by gonorrhea infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)

Hartford 83
New Haven 80
Fairfield 48
New London 32
Middlesex 29
Tolland 25
Litchfield 23
Windham 14

Primary and secondary syphilis

Hartford and New Haven accounted for nearly two-thirds of all infections of primary and secondary syphilis in the state.

Connecticut counties by primary and secondary syphilis infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)

New Haven 4
New London 3
Hartford 2
Fairfield 2
Middlesex 2
Tolland 0
Litchfield 0
Windham 0

Conclusion

Connecticut may at first appear to be the picture of sexual health, given that the prevalence of most sexually transmitted diseases and infections is low in our state. But a closer look at the figures reveals troubling trends that indicate STDs are becoming a more serious problem here in Connecticut, one that should concern everyone. The state has made progress in some areas, which should give everyone hope and confidence that even more progress can be made. The truth is that most people who are infected with STDs are not aware of their status, which is why anybody who is sexually active should get themselves tested for the infections they’re most at risk of contracting.

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.