The prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, is rising across the United States, a trend that’s largely reflected here in the state of Michigan, though our state’s sexual health picture is a bit better than much of the rest of the country, particularly states of similar size.
Where does Michigan fall nationally when it comes to how common STDs are? Which diseases are most common in our state, and how have those trends changed over time here in Michigan? To answer those questions, we’ll look at data from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chlamydia Rates in Michigan
Michigan ranks 24th among all states in its rate of chlamydia, but the state’s rate of 509.6 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 528.8 per 100,000 people. Michigan is closest in population to Georgia and North Carolina, which both have far higher rates.
Chlamydia infections per 100,000 people, top 25
The rate of chlamydia in Michigan has generally been on the rise over the past decade-plus, but more recent years have seen variable rates and relatively small increases. For instance, while Michigan’s rate jumped 13% between 2013 and 2017, several states saw their rates go up by about a third, including New Hampshire (+40.2%) and Connecticut (+39.7%).
Michigan chlamydia rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)
Michigan’s chlamydia rate is near the top 5 in the region, and the state is right in the middle of the pack in the Midwest.
Chlamydia infection rate, Midwestern states (cases per 100,000 people)
Gonorrhea Rates in Michigan
The population-adjusted rate of gonorrhea infections in Michigan is below the national level but still high enough to rank the state in the upper half nationally.
Gonorrhea infections per 100,000 people (top 25)
Gonorrhea prevalence has increased in Michigan recently, but the state’s infection rate for gonorrhea is lower than it was at the beginning of this century.
Michigan gonorrhea rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)
Michigan ranks in the middle of the Midwest for its gonorrhea rate, though its rate is lower than that of most of the states that border Michigan.
Gonorrhea infection rate, Midwestern states (cases per 100,000 people)
Syphilis Rates in Michigan
Michigan’s rate of primary and secondary syphilis cases is in the bottom half nationally with a rate that’s about half the national rate.
Primary and secondary syphilis infections per 100,000 people, bottom 25
Michigan’s rate of primary and secondary syphilis infections has fallen four out of the past five years with a slight increase overall since 2001 and a 26% jump between 2016 and 2017.
Michigan primary and secondary syphilis rate by year (cases per 100,000 people)
Michigan’s syphilis infection rate is tied with neighboring state Indiana for the middle of the pack in the region.
Primary and secondary syphilis infection rates, Northeastern states (cases per 100,000 people)
HIV & Other STD Rates in Michigan
More than 750 people in Michigan were diagnosed with HIV in 2017, but the state’s population-adjusted infection rate (7.8 per 100,000) is lower than the national infection rate of 11.7 per 100,000. However, the state’s rate of HIV infections did go up, though slightly, between 2016 and 2017 (+4%).
Hepatitis B & C
Acute infections of hepatitis B are about half the national prevalence in Michigan, and the state’s rate has declined significantly since 2013 (-38% between 2012 and 2016). Michigan has seen its rate of acute hep C cases rise in that time, though, and the state’s infection rate is slightly higher than the national rate (1.1 per 100,000 in Michigan vs 1 per 100,000 nationally).
Human papillomavirus is the most common STD in the world and remains the primary cause of several types of cancers, including cervical, penile, anal and vulvar cancer. Michigan’s rate of HPV-related cancer is right at the national median of 11.7 cases per 100,000 people.
STDs in Michigan Cities & Counties
While Michigan ranks near the middle or bottom of prevalence of most STDs, several parts of the state are driving the rates and increases noted in several of the STDs we’ve looked at.
About 1 in 5 chlamydia cases in Michigan in 2017 occurred in Detroit, though it’s important to note that almost all of the state’s recent chlamydia rate increase occurred outside Detroit.
Michigan counties by chlamydia infection rate (cases per 100,000 people)
Nearly 1 in 3 cases of gonorrhea in Michigan occurred in the city of Detroit in 2017.
Michigan counties by gonorrhea infection rate (cases per 100,000 population)
Primary and secondary syphilis
Michigan’s syphilis rate have dropped since the state had an outbreak of the disease in 2013, but prevalence rose by more than 25% between 2016 and 2017, with most of the increase outside the city of Detroit.
Michigan counties by primary and secondary syphilis infection rate (cases per 100,000 population)*
* Denotes average rate between 2012 and 2016, no data reported for 2017
While some sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, are becoming more common in our state, Michigan does rank near or at the middle nationally when it comes to prevalence of the majority of common STDs. For the state to continue improving the picture of sexual health of its residents, it’s important for sexually active people, especially those in high-risk groups, to get tested so they can be sure they’re not unwittingly passing STDs along.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2017. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/SRtables.pdf
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Michigan Annual STD Summary Report, 2017. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/2017_std_report_final_633944_7.pdf
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Rate of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis Cases. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/Std/STDMasterTrends.asp?AreaCode=0&AreaType=S&ActiveGender=T&Stat=R
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
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
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
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.