Stay Safe: Norfolk Ranks Among America’s Top Ten Highest STD Rates


Norfolk, Virginia was ranked #10 for the highest STD/STI rates in the country by Innerbody. STD tests can be conducted at home or at a testing facility. (Credit to Innerbody)

By Justice Menzel, News Editor

The CDC’s STI Awareness Week has officially begun, and in Norfolk, there’s never been a better time to get tested. 


In a study published by Innerbody, Norfolk ranked #10 on a list of cities for top STI rates in the country. 


Utilizing the Center For Disease Control’s 2023 STD Surveillance Statistics, Innerbody’s team compiled a list of one-hundred cities with the highest STI/STD rates. Norfolk, in particular, had 1,069 reported cases for every 100,000 citizens with infections like gonorrhea, HIV, chlamydia, and syphilis. The study also noted that Norfolk rose nineteen places since last year’s rankings, continuing an upward trend for the city. 


In 2023 alone, HIV cases soared in Norfolk, at 168 reported cases compared to the list’s #1, Memphis, Tennessee, which had only five. Norfolk had over 10,000 cases of chlamydia, 4,451 cases of gonorrhea, and 281 cases of syphilis.


Richmond, Virginia, was also featured at #22, with 936 cases per 100,000 citizens. Virginia’s capital had 114 reported HIV cases and 376 syphilis cases. 


The study points to CDC data demonstrating racial disparities in disease contraction, with “non-Hispanic black people compris[ing] a disproportionate 32% of chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea infections.” 


Jo Valentine, a CDC expert in the Office of Health Equity, said that to reduce the divide, “the social, cultural, and economic conditions that make it more difficult for some populations to stay healthy must be addressed. These include poverty, unstable housing, drug use, lack of medical insurance or regular medical provider, and high burden of STDs in some communities.”


According to a 2021 Altarum Institute report, “health spending per capita in 2021 was over $1,700 lower than the national average in Virginia, with all major spending categories lower than their national comparators.”

After contracting symptoms, contact a testing facility immediately. Norfolk-based information and locations can be found here.