Illustrated By Ly Ngo.
I'll admit it: Ever since 7th grade health class, the thought of contracting an STI has been utterly terrifying to me. No matter how completely, utterly, freakishly safe my practices, I can't shake the fear that a nasty case of the clap is waiting just around the river bend. My paranoia isn't helped by the many frightening headlines about a new, terrifying strain of gonorrhea — or the fact that everyone and their mother probably has some form of HPV.
The thing about those headlines, though, is that many of them are talking about the country as a whole — presenting what might well be a skewed picture of the actual disease risk where you live. Looking at the STI rates across different states provides a much more accurate idea of the odds. The maps below display infection numbers for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV around the country; the numbers are per 100,000 people.
Hover over any state to see its rate for each disease. And, just in case you're feeling curious, here's a handy guide to everything you need to know about STIs. (Hypochondriacs should probably refrain from clicking.)