STD Rates in Tucson Aren't the Worst, But They Aren't the Best

As a city we have received some big time press lately from the likes of the New York Times heralding Tucson as a hip place to live. From our vintage neon signs to rapidly growing Downtown, to our fine food and local beer establishments, we have gotten some pretty cool accolades. We were named fourth biggest city of book lovers and received numerous praises for our biking/cycling friendly community.

But, to be clear, there are some lists we don’t want to rank in the top five. Or even in the top 100 for that matter. We can all wipe a bead of anxious sweat off our brows because we did not rank as one of the Top 100 Most Sexually Diseased Cities in the United States. The data, released by, compiled the latest STD statistics, in 2013, in the states by the Center of Disease Control and created a list of the towns that have the highest number of STDs.

Show Low was the only Arizona city to make it onto the list, coming in at number 49 with a rate of 1,036 reported STDs per 100,000 people.

While we might not have received the dubious honor, it’s not time to start making it with our neighbors sans rubbers. Show Low is the only city in good old’ AZ that has a higher STD rating then Tucson. We even far beat out Phoenix in our instances of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

It was reported that our rate of STDs per 100,000 people was 608. That includes 5,192 cases of Chlamydia, 795 cases of gonorrhea and 53 cases of syphilis. Our grand total for 2013? 6040. That’s quite a number of uncomfortable diseases that can all be treated if dealt with promptly.

Thankfully, for those of us who want to get tested, or perhaps just students in Arizona, which does not require sexual education be taught at elementary, middle and high schools, there are options available.

The Pima County Health Clinics offer STD testing on a sliding scale biased on income at the Theresa Lee Public Health Center, East Clinic and North Clinic. Their “Express” option tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV. Minors are welcomed and encouraged to use their resources with anonymity, not requiring parental consent.

Planned Parenthood also offers STD and contraceptive services at a sliding scale.

If you know you do not have an STD, and sure as hell don’t want one, condoms are available for free at many locations in town. The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation distributes free condoms and “safer sex kits” throughout the city.

A list of businesses can be found here.

Many STDs do not have warning signs, so it is best to get screened regularly if you are sexually active. Seven common signs that may indicate its time to get tested are:
-Pain during intercourse
-Pain urinating
-Sores or bumps near or on the genitals and mouth
-Unusual discharge or odor from the genitals
-Itching, swelling or pain around the genitals
-Disturbances and changes to the menstrual cycle
-High fevers, fatigue and nausea

These can all be indicative of many other health problems, so never self-diagnose.

For more info on the services, visit Pima County Health Clinic.

Visit Planned Parenthood fore more information.