Sex & Gender

Chlamydia and Syphilis Cases Have Doubled in Miami Recently

Cases of chlamydia and syphilis have more than doubled in Miami-Dade in recent years, and more than half of those infected last year were between the ages of 18 and 25.

And we wonder what happens when MTV stops airing PSAs reminded kids to wrap it up every commercial break, and starts airing Teen Mom.

According to number obtained by the Miami Herald from the Florida Department of Health, there were just 200 cases per 100,000 people in Miami-Dade back in 2006. Last year that number had doubled to 400 per 100,000 people. In a county with a population of just under 2.6 million people, that's over 10,000 cases.

Syphilis meanwhile has increased from 8.4 cases per 100,000 people in 2006, to 16 cases per 100,000 last year. If left untreated, in some cases syphilis can lead to death and paralysis.

A total of 56 percent of new cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea in the county are diagnosed in those between 18 and 25. Though, the overall rate of STI infection among the group is down 8 percent since 2009. Though, STI infections are up 5 percent in those 25 to 29.

The Department of Health first started noticing the increase of syphilis and chlamydia in Florida back in 2009. At that time, 73 percent of syphilis cases were diagnosed in men who had sex with men, and 71 percent of chlamydia cases were among women.

Experts who talked to the Herald have struggled to get to the root of the problem, with "possibilities ranging from a lack of understanding about the diseases to an increasingly promiscuous culture."

Miami-Dade Public Schools, which has to include some messages about abstinence as per state law, has also been including teaching on safe sex and tries to be inclusive of all sexual ordinations. The system has also helping to develop an app to let people know where they can get tested.

Though we're long past the age of the '90s where pro-condom messages saturated youth entertainment, and celebrities showed up to every event with a red ribbon. Lady Gaga isn't showing up in public dressed in condoms like TLC used to. It's also worth noting, particularly with the rise of syphilis, that it comes at a time that the gay porn industry has mainstreamed movies featuring condom-less sex while up in to a few years ago it was an almost unbreakable taboo.

Experts also wonder about the effects of hook-up apps like Tinder and Grindr that make it easier for people to find no-strings sexual encounters.

Whatever the case, damn it kids, wear a condom.

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Kyle Munzenrieder