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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.