Despite the popular stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases and infections, more than half of all people will experience one or the other at some point in their lives, according to the American Sexual Health Association.
STIs and STDs are much more common than many may think, and their prevalence is likely due to a number of factors, including not using protection during intercourse, drug use, skin-to-skin contact and coming into contact with germs that hide in semen, blood and even saliva. In some cases, these relatively prevalent infections and diseases can be extremely damaging to one's health — and in others, they can even be fatal.
From 2013 to 2014, 41 out of the 50 states experienced an overall increase in average STI morbidity rate (the infection rate caused by STDs and STIs). The following is a look at the states with the highest relative increases for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis per 100K people, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were ranked by average percent increase in the morbidity rate of all three infections between 2013 and 2014 (the most recent reporting year).
Note: Chlamydia data is unavailable for Alaska. Alaska's ranking was based on averaging rates of syphilis and gonorrhea only.