Atlanta

Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea: Which metro Atlanta counties have the highest STI rates?

ATLANTA — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest data on sexually transmitted infections shows an upswing in some common viruses and a decrease in others.

In the Atlanta metropolitan area, 21 of the core metro reported increases in disease in 2022, with none more than the immediate Atlanta area counties.

According to the CDC data available, which is current at a county level through 2022, Fulton County sits atop the list of areas with the highest number of cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

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For the sake of reporting purposes, the following data and analysis does not include congenital syphilis, or a type of syphilis transmitted from mother to child in the womb.

The data available shows that for all three of the STIs mentioned, Fulton County had the highest number of new cases in 2022, the most recent year of data available.

Additionally, Fulton County had the highest rate of infections per capita, or number per 100,000 people.

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Fulton County is, notably, the most populated county in the core of the Atlanta metro area, but even when compared to Gwinnett County, the next closest in terms of population, Fulton County’s rates of STIs for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea was higher for the number of cases and infections per capita.

Still, while Gwinnett County having the second highest population size after Fulton County, the number of cases of the three STIs reported was higher in DeKalb County than in Gwinnett County. For infections with gonorrhea, Cobb County also had a higher reported number of cases than Gwinnett County.

Despite the high number of cases of chlamydia reported in the metro counties, the CDC reported that overall, infections of chlamydia were relatively unchanged in terms of growth year-over-year. Gonorrhea cases were actually on a downward trend since 2020, though syphilis cases were rising.

As a state, the CDC reported Georgia ranked as the fifth highest for reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, Georgia ranked 20th for primary and secondary syphilis infections and 17th for congenital syphilis.

For syphilis infections, Fulton ranked No. 1 among the 21 counties included in the data below. The top 10 is as follows:

  1. Fulton County
  2. DeKalb County
  3. Gwinnett County
  4. Clayton County
  5. Cobb County
  6. Henry County
  7. Douglas County
  8. Carroll County
  9. Clarke County
  10. Rockdale and Hall counties are tied

For chlamydia infections, which the CDC data shows is the most reported STI in the United States, Fulton County was again ranked at No. 1 for number of cases.

  1. Fulton County
  2. DeKalb County
  3. Gwinnett County
  4. Cobb County
  5. Clayton County
  6. Henry County
  7. Clarke County
  8. Douglas County
  9. Newton County
  10. Hall County

Finally, for gonorrhea infections, Fulton was again the No. 1 county by case number. However, the lower half of the rankings for the top 10 were somewhat different than the list of counties’ infections of syphilis and chlamydia.

  1. Fulton County
  2. DeKalb County
  3. Cobb Count
  4. Gwinnett County
  5. Clayton County
  6. Henry County
  7. Douglas County
  8. Clarke County
  9. Rockdale County
  10. Paulding County

For the full set of data on the 21 core metro counties, keep reading below:

CountyPopulationCases of Syphilis/Per CapitaCases of Chlamydia/Per CapitaCases of Gonorrhea/Per Capita
Barrow89,2997/7.8393/440.1106/118.7
Bartow112,81616/14.2413/366.1198/175.5
Carroll124,59225/20.1619/496.8249/199.9
Cherokee281,27813/4.6753/267.7189/67.2
Clarke129,87524/18.51,128/868.5417/321.1
Clayton196,56498/332,955/996.41,436/484.2
Cobb771,95297/12.64,437/574.81,781/230.7
Coweta152,8829/5.9539/352.6220/143.9
DeKalb762,820275/36.16,578/862.33,407/446.6
Douglas147,31629/19.71,096/744443/300.7
Fayette122,03010/8.2393/322.1117/95.9
Forsyth267,2378/3518/193.8109/40.8
Fulton1,074,634463/43.110,909/1015.16,041/562.1
Gwinnett975,353129/13.25,385/552.11,727/177.1
Hall212,69218/8.5942/442.9234/110
Henry248,36437/14.91,661/668.8607/244.4
Newton117,62112/10.2890/756.7290/246.6
Paulding178,42115/8.4606/339.6214/119.9
Rockdale94,98418/19801/843.3323/340.1
Spalding68,9196/8.7458/664.5168/243.8

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