Race Differences in Rates of Venereal Disease

Westley Parker, American Renaissance, November 11, 2017

Blacks have by far the highest rates.

A just-released report from the US Centers for Disease Control includes race and sex differences in rates of sexually transmitted diseases. All infection rate figures are for 2016.


*AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native, *NHOPI = Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (The CDC presents unusually accurate figures for Asians, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders by presenting data separately for each group.)

In all racial groups—with the curious exception of American Indians and Eskimos—men are more likely than women to have gonorrhea.

For both sexes, blacks are most likely to be infected. Black men are nine times more likely than white men to have gonorrhea, and Hispanic men are twice as likely. Black women are 8.4 times more likely than white women to be infected and Hispanic women are three times more likely.

Asians of both sexes are the least likely of any group to have gonorrhea.

Primary and Secondary Syphilis

*AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native, *NHOPI = Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

Syphilis infection rates vary greatly by sex, with men eight times more likely than women to carry the disease. Syphilis was nearly eradicated in the United States but has returned, primarily because it has become so common among men who have sex with other men. Fifty-eight percent of the 28,000 new cases reported in 2016 were in homosexual or bisexual man.

Blacks are again the most likely to be infected, with black men 4.6 times more likely than white men, and black women seven times more likely than white women to have syphilis.

Male/female comparisons are even more striking. Compared to white women, black men are 46 times more likely to have syphilis, Pacific Islander men 26 times, and Hispanic men 22 times.


*AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native, *NHOPI = Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

Chlamydia is more likely to infect women than men. Again, blacks are the most commonly infected, with black men seven times more likely to have chlamydia than white men, and black women more than five times more likely than white women. Hispanics are about twice as likely as whites to have the disease, and, again, Asians are least likely.

Every sexually transmitted disease shows the same pattern for both sexes: Blacks have the highest rates, followed by Hispanics and then whites, and Asians with the lowest rates. American Indians, Eskimos, and Pacific Islanders always have infection rates higher than whites and sometimes higher than Hispanics.

All these graphs are based on disease rates for the entire population, including children and old people. Figures are available for infection rates at different ages, and racial differences are especially striking for young people in the 10 to 14, and 15 to 19 age ranges. For example, although infecton rates for ages 10 to 14 are low in all racial groups, the chlamydia infection rates for black males of that age are 25 times the white rate, compared to a multiple of just over five for all black males. All other races show a similarly greater multiple compared to whites for males ages 10 to 14, except for Asians, who show an even lower multiple in that age group.

Especially high multiples in the younger age groups are probably due to the fact that blacks, especially, start having sex at a earlier age than whites.

Gonorrhea rates for men show a similar pattern, with blacks in the 10 to 14 age group 55 times more likely than whites in that age group to be infected (though absolute rates for both races are low).

Syphilis rates for men and women likewise show similar patterns, with Asians always the least likely to be infected. Infection rates for ages 10 to 14 are so low that comparisons are not meaningful, so rates listed here are for ages 15 through 19. Black males in that age group are nearly eight times as likely as whites to have the disease, and Hispanics in that group are three times as likely. Curiously, Asian male teenagers have higher infection rates than white male teenagers. Infection rates for young female Asians return to the more familiar pattern.

Congenital Syphilis

Congenital syphilis is passed from mother to child during fetal development or at birth. Nearly half of all children infected with syphilis while in the womb die shortly before or after birth. Syphilis can be cured if caught early, and free prenatal care is available to all Americans. Still, 43 out of 100,000 black babies are born with the disease, for an infection rate eight times higher than that for whites.

Asians are reported to have higher rates of congenital syphilis than whites, but only because American Indians, Eskimos, and Pacific Islanders are lumped in with Asians.

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Westley Parker
Westley Parker is a former Director of Special Projects at American Renaissance.
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