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Health Indicator Report of Gonorrhea Cases

Although much less common than chlamydia infections, gonorrhea, caused by the bacterium ''Neisseria gonorrhoeae'', is a priority public health concern in Utah. Untreated gonorrhea infections can damage the reproductive systems of both males and females. Females with gonorrhea infection are at risk for developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and both men and women may become infertile as a result of untreated gonorrhea infections. Also, susceptibility to infections such as HIV also increases when an individual has gonorrhea. Furthermore, pregnant women with gonorrhea can pass the infection to their infant during delivery, potentially resulting in ophthalmia neonatorum. Gonorrhea can spread to joints and become systemic (disseminated gonorrhea). In addition to the cervix and urethra, the rectum and pharynx are also possible sites of gonococcal infection.

Gonorrhea by Age and Sex, Utah, 2020


Rates were calculated by dividing the number of cases for each age/gender group by the total population within that group and multiplying by 100,000.

Data Sources

  • The Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology
  • Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2020

Data Interpretation Issues

Reported gonorrhea rates are calculated by dividing the number of cases within the population of interest by the total number of persons within that population, then multiplying by 100,000. It should be noted that because of the relatively small number of gonorrhea infections reported in Utah, rates can be volatile: a small change in the number of cases can noticeably change the rate. This change may look significant, but, statistically, it may not be. Caution is strongly recommended when interpreting small case numbers and rates.


Rate of newly reported cases of gonorrhea by date of diagnosis per 100,000 population.


Number of newly reported cases of gonorrhea by date of diagnosis.


Number of persons in Utah.

Healthy People Objective STD-6:

Reduce gonorrhea rates
U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

Other Objectives

Related Healthy People 2020 Objectives include:[[br]] [[br]] =====Healthy People Objective STD-5:===== Reduce the proportion of females aged 15 to 44 years who have ever required treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)[[br]] '''U.S. Target:''' 3.8 percent[[br]] [[br]] =====Healthy People Objective STD-6:===== Reduce gonorrhea rates *{{style color:#003366 STD-6.1:}} Reduce gonorrhea rates among females aged 15 to 44 years [[br]]'''U.S. Target:''' 251.9 new cases per 100,000 population *{{style color:#003366 STD-6.2:}} Reduce gonorrhea rates among males aged 15 to 44 years [[br]]'''U.S. Target:''' 194.8 new cases per 100,000 population

How Are We Doing?

Following a doubling of the Utah gonorrhea rate from 2003 to 2006, when the rate peaked at 35.2 cases per 100,000 persons, the Utah gonorrhea rate decreased annually to the lowest reported rate of 9.8 in 2011. From 2011 to 2020, gonorrhea rates increased 879.6% to a 15-year high of 96.0 cases per 100,000 persons. In 2020, gonorrhea rates in the state were higher in males (117.8 cases per 100,000 persons) than in females (73.9 cases per 100,000 persons). Rates in females increased 1,472.3% from 2011-2020, compared to 690.6% among males during the same time frame. The highest rates of gonorrhea in Utah in 2020 were among males aged 25 to 29 (325.4 cases per 100,000 persons) and males aged 20 to 24 (295.8 cases per 100,000 persons).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Gonorrhea rates in Utah are well below rates in the U.S. In 2019*, The Utah gonorrhea rate ranked 45th highest in the nation. The overall rate for gonorrhea in the U.S. in 2019* was 188.4 cases per 100,000 persons. Nationally in 2019*, gonorrhea rates were higher in males (224.4 cases per 100,000 persons) than females (152.6 cases per 100,000 persons). Gonorrhea rates were highest among males aged 20 to 24 (743.5 cases per 100,000 persons) and females aged 20 to 24 (737.4 cases per 100,000 persons). The next highest groups were males aged 25 to 29 (700.6 cases per 100,000 persons) and females aged 15 to 19 (559.5 cases per 100,000 persons). (CDC. [ ''Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance''], 2019) *At the time of writing, U.S. STD Surveillance Data for 2020 was not yet available.

What Is Being Done?

Persons who test positive for gonorrhea are confidentially interviewed by a disease intervention specialist from a local health department to educate the patient, ensure proper treatment, and to obtain sexual partner information for follow up. This process potentially prevents the spread of infection and reduces the likelihood of the patient becoming reinfected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that patients with gonococcal infections be treated with a dual antibiotic therapy that is effective against chlamydia to simultaneously treat this frequent coinfection, improve gonorrhea treatment efficacy, and potentially slow the emergence of resistance to cephalosporins. The Utah Department of Health HIV and STD Prevention and Surveillance Program, along with local health departments, currently provide STD presentations upon request to a variety of organizations, agencies, and facilities.

Available Services

Local health districts have STD (sexually transmitted disease) clinics located at their local health department where adolescents can be tested and treated for STDs at minimal or no cost. Planned Parenthood has locations throughout Utah that also provide STD services at minimal cost. Condoms are available at these locations free of cost. STD presentations are available through the Utah Department of Health upon request. The Utah Department of Health also has educational pamphlets available. The Utah Minor's Consent Law allows adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 years to be tested and treated for an STD without the consent of a parent.
Page Content Updated On 10/20/2021, Published on 01/14/2022
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 31 March 2023 15:29:26 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Fri, 14 Jan 2022 06:28:55 MST