Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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STI rates lower in states with higher minimum wage

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Rollins researchers found that states with higher minimum wages experienced lower rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) among women in metro areas. After adjusting state-level minimum wages for inflation and cost of living, the authors found that a $1 increase in the price-adjusted state-level minimum wage over time (between 2002-2014) was associated with a 12.2 percent drop in syphilis rates among women and with a 7.4 percent drop in gonorrhea rates in large US metropolitan areas.

If other studies support this finding, the authors recommend future public health strategies aimed at reducing STIs among women should include advocating for a higher minimum wage. The authors note that finding innovative ways to address STIs in the US is particularly important given CDC’s 2018 STD Surveillance Report, which showed 2.5 million combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2018, a fifth consecutive year of steady increase in STI rates.

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