Published October 8, 2018
The clam. The myds. The Reykjavík Handshake. All of these are terms you can use to describe chlamydia, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. Iceland distinguishes itself in having the highest rate of chlamydia in the world—about 619 instances per 100,000 people—a position it has held for a very long time.
It’s a bit unfair to the rest of the world to say that this is something we “won.” It’s not like we tried, after all. There was no draft pick for the Chlamydia Men’s National Team, no qualifying rounds, no cheesy theme songs and Viking imagery deployed to drum up support for rising to the top of the world in minor genital infections. It just came natural to us.
In fairness, our top rank may actually say more about other countries than it does Iceland. STD testing is very prevalent and common in Iceland, and health care officials have increased testing for chlamydia over the past ten years, thereby increasing the number of positive test results. So maybe other countries have even higher rates of chlamydia but don’t test enough. If so, they have a lot of catching up to do. Aim high, rest of the world.