MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Out of the 55 counties in West Virginia, Monongalia County has been named the healthiest according to the latest annual report from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.
“This makes three years of Monongalia County being at the top of the health rankings, and that is worth celebrating,” Dr. Lee B. Smith, health officer at Monongalia County Health Department said. “But there is still more we can do to make this even better in the future, and we are going to continue to work hard.”
Monongalia County outperformed the state average in nearly every category and surpassed the national average in a handful.
The county also boasts high clinical care scores, with a high percentage of adults with access to
health care and a low ratio of population to primary care physicians. The report also showed low incidences of alcohol-impaired driving deaths and low rates of teen births in Monongalia County.
One of the concerning areas in the report was that the county has a high rate of sexually transmitted infections, as 507.5 new cases of chlamydia were diagnosed per 100,000 people. The state and national averages are 303 and 481.3 newly diagnosed cases per 100,000 people.
While most people could assume the college party scene would be a major reason for those statistics, Dr. Smith dismisses it.
“It’s very easy to blame college kids for high STI rates,” Dr. Smith said. “But while we do see some in college, we also see a lot of transmission rates in other demographics.”
Some of those other demographics include: people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men are among the most at-risk individuals for STIs and HIV, according to the CDC.
“We have free testing that is anonymous to the participant that includes all of the STIs, from syphilis to chlamydia,” Dr. Smith said. “If they need testing or need advice, they can always come into the health department.”
For a full breakdown of the report, click here.