The 10 states having the least safe sex in America

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Single and dating in Louisiana? You might want to stock up on some extra condoms.


Sex education in the United States is a joke, as Fusion reporter Hannah Smothers recently reported, with only a handful of states requiring that schools teach students medically accurate information. And not surprisingly, many of the states where sex education is poor also see higher-than-average teen pregnancy and STD rates.

But when you synthesize all the variables, where in the U.S. are people having the safest—and least safe—sex? Variance, LLC, a research and communications firm dedicated to promoting sexual health, partnered with Trojan Condoms to answer that question through their Safer Sex Index, a ranking of states according to eight different criteria: HIV testing and diagnoses, gonorrhea and syphilis cases, sex education, STD/HIV education, teaching condom use, and teen births.

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And now, without further ado, here are the ten worst-performing states:

10.  Alabama (STD score: 44th, contraception score: 21st)

9.   Alaska (STD score: 34th, contraception score: 44th)

8.   Nevada (STD score: 37th, contraception score: 32nd)

7.   Arkansas (STD score: 32nd, contraception score: 48th)

6.   Tennessee (STD score: 36th, contraception score: 43rd)

5.   Texas (STD score: 43rd, contraception score: 31st)

4.   Florida (STD score: 46th, contraception score: 29th)

3.   Mississippi (STD score: 40th, contraception score: 49th)

2.   Georgia (STD score: 49th, contraception score: 45th)

1.    Louisiana (STD score: 50th, contraception score: 50th)

And here's Variance and Trojan's map showing their overall scores—the lighter the shade of purple, the safer the state.

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Variance and Trojan stress the same message that Fusion has stressed in recent coverage—that even if a state mandates sex ed, if its quality is not adequate, outcomes are going to be worse.


"The analysis shows that whether or not a state mandates sex education is not the driver in difference in sexual health, but rather the type of sex education that is mandated drives positive sexual health," they write. "The inclusion of contraception information or STD/HIV education as part of sex education in schools is an important driver of differences in sexual health among the states."

You'll want to check out the Safer Sex Index itself, as it features an interactive version of the map and an interactive chart showing which states rank best on the two measures (Maryland, for instance, is pretty good on contraception but still has a really bad STD situation—and vice-versa for Utah).

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Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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