ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — More than 7.5% of teens were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2019 in the South Carolina county with the highest rate, according to data from the state’s health agency.
Overall, 3.35% of teens between the ages of 15 and 19 were diagnosed with the sexually transmitted infection last year, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, totaling 10,857 cases. However, since many teens are never tested, that number is likely higher.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI in the nation and is easily cured — as long as it’s caught early. If left untreated, it can lead to difficulty getting pregnant in the future.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women under the age of 25 to be tested annually.
Symptoms for both sexes include abnormal discharge and a burning sensation while urinating.
South Carolina continues to have one of the highest STI rates in the nation, despite seeing the teen birth rate drop 70% since 1991, according to Fact Forward, a statewide initiative to lower STI and pregnancy rates in teens.
Teens are concerned about telling their health care providers if they’re sexually active because they’re worried about privacy, according to Fact Forward, and a lot of them never get screened.
In 2017, South Carolina ranked fifth in the nation for chlamydia rates, and fourth for gonorrhea. Young adults are especially at risk, according to data, with those between the ages of 15 and 24 making up 67% of all chlamydia cases.
According to the South Carolina 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, about 37.4% of students ages 15 and older have had sexual intercourse, with about half of high school juniors reporting that they have.
And while condoms are the best preventative effort for those who are sexually active, 46% of teens have said they didn’t use one the last time they had sex, according to Fact Forward.
Here are the counties with the lowest rates of chlamydia diagnosis in teens, per 100,000 people:
37. Anderson – 2,587.4
38. Kershaw – 2,500
39. Greenville – 2,485.1
40. Berkeley – 2,466.9
41. Edgefield – 2,434.3
42. Lexington – 2,424
43. Spartanburg – 2,388.4
44. Calhoun – 2,368.4
45. Oconee – 2,067
46. Pickens – 1,715.1
Here are the counties with the highest rates of chlamydia diagnosis in teens, per 100,000 people:
10. Marlboro – 4,972
9. Bamberg – 5,175.3
8. Orangeburg – 5,201.1
7. Lee – 5,258.1
6. Clarendon – 5,265.7
5. Jasper – 5,522.3
4. Union – 5,748.6
3. Marion – 6,207.3
2. Williamsburg – 6,709.3
- Allendale – 7,572.8