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  7. The Sex, Itchy Bits & NYC: 10 Crazy STD Facts About The Big Apple

The Sex, Itchy Bits & NYC: 10 Crazy STD Facts About The Big Apple

Your Health Is Important!

A young woman appears to check for STDs by holding a magnifying glass to her groin.


Anyone who's had the sex knows that they need to take active measures to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs (also known as sexually transmitted infections, or STIs). While some STDs are easily curable, like chlamydia, others aren't, like HIV/AIDS. Even some traditionally easy-to-cure infections, like gonorrhea, have shown some resistance to antibiotics in recent years.


Urban areas are especially prone to spikes in STD cases. That means people in places like NYC—the most populated city in the United States—should exercise extra caution. Just what is the state of sexual health in the Big Apple? It might surprise you. Read on to learn some ridiculous statistics about STDs in New York City.


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10. Certain antibiotic-resistant strands of gonorrhea are increasing.

Remember what I said earlier about some strands of gonorrhea becoming resistant to antibiotics? Well, NYC residents should pay special attention here. In 2016, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) released a health alert that said there was a rise in gonorrhea cases where the infection showed resistance to a popular antibiotic.


A pink unrolled condom stands across a dotted line from oral medications


9. A common base for isolating gonorrhea was developed in NYC.


There's more than one way to isolate gonorrhea for research and diagnosis. A popular way is through the use of New York City agar. You can thank Fauer, Weisburd, and Wilson for this helpful base; they developed it at the NYC Department of Health.


Gonorrhea showing up in NYC agar
NYC agar sample. Photo courtesy of Xishan01 via CC BY-SA 3.0.


8. Syphilis among young women in New York City is increasing.

According to another 2016 NYC DOHMH health alert, syphilis cases increased in young women from 2014 to 2015; officials estimated that this trend would stay the same for 2016. Documented cases officially jumped 36% between these years. However, it's important to keep in mind that the actual number of primary and secondary syphilis cases were low: 32 cases in 2014 and 43 cases in 2015.


Women wear red skirt Use the hand to scratch the vagina. Genital itching caused by syphilis.
Siriluk ok/Shutterstock.com


7. New York State has higher rates of chlamydia compared to the national average.

New York State had higher rates of chlamydia than the national average in 2017. The US average per 100,000 population was 528.8. The Empire State? 591.6, with 116,814 cases reported to the CDC.


Concept of Sexually transmitted disease shown by a partially peeled banana stuck with pin needles


6. Nearly 123,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in NYC.

According to official reports, 122,887 people were living with HIV/AIDS in the Big Apple at the end of 2016. For comparison, in 2015, the CDC estimated that 1.1 million people in the entire United States had HIV. This means NYC is not just a highly concentrated area for HIV in New York State, but the country as a whole.


A man holds a blank square over his pants


5. Manhattan has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other NYC borough.

According to data from the NYC DOHMH, 32,370 people were living with HIV/AIDS by the end of 2016. The Bronx had the second-highest number at 29,657. Staten Island had the lowest number of people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of that year: 2,383.


View of Manhattan, New York, New York

4. But Brooklyn had more HIV/AIDS diagnoses than any other borough in 2016.

More people in Brooklyn received an HIV/AIDS diagnosis than in any other part of the city; 576 new cases were reported in 2016 for this borough. For comparison, that was more than 25% of all new NYC HIV/AIDS diagnoses that year!


Nighttime view of the Brooklyn Bridge


3. NYC launched the largest HIV-testing initiative in the nation in 2014.

Here's some good news! In 2014, the New York City Health Department did something drastic to help NYC residents: the department launched an HIV-testing initiative, New York Knows, the largest such initiative in the United States. The purposes of this initiative include making HIV testing more accessible to certain NYC residents and linking up both HIV-positive people and at-risk individuals to proper medical care and services.


A condom-wrapped banana sits atop red felt hearts


2. The number of deaths for people with AIDS in New York City is down.

More good news. According to an NYC DOHMH report, deaths to persons with AIDS is steadily decreasing. The highest number of recorded deaths for people with AIDS occurred in 1994 at 8,341 deaths. By 2016, that number had dropped to 1,147.


Red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon and condom in denim pocket - protection from STDs.


1. In fact, new AIDS diagnoses are down, too.

The NYC DOHMH also notes that new AIDS diagnoses are decreasing as well. The highest number of AIDS diagnoses in the Big Apple occurred in 1993, with 12,743 new cases reported. In 2016? 1,265 cases. While ideally this number would be zero, this drastic decrease shows that NYC is moving in the right direction.


A woman holds a condom



Taking pro-active measures to protect yourself is important! After all, not all STDs are easily cured, and many STDs actually don't show any symptoms. If you're concerned about having been exposed to an STD, you can talk to your doctor and make plans to get tested. Not sure where to find STD testing in your area? No problem! There's plenty of places that can help you find a local clinic to test yourself, like here.



Image Credit/Disclaimers

Image Credit: Cover photo(s) used under license from Shutterstock.com. pathdoc/Shutterstock.com

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