Check Out Our Snapshot about Sexual and Reproductive Health in Dane County


This month, we released a brand-new report showing sexual and reproductive health trends in Dane County. We cover everything from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to pregnancy to sexual violence. How is Dane County doing?

We have areas where trends are getting better.

Teen birth rates are decreasing, and they’re lower than rates statewide and nationally.  From 2015- 2020, births among people aged 15-19 decreased more than 30%-- a trend that we’re also seeing statewide and nationally. Dane County’s teen birth rate in 2020 was roughly half of the U.S. teen birth rate. 9 in 10 high school students in Dane County who have vaginal sex report always (69%) or sometimes (17%) using pregnancy prevention.

The rate of new HIV diagnoses in Dane County has been declining. In the past decade, the rate of new diagnoses have decreased from 7.4 cases per 100,000 to 3.5 cases per 100,000 (which is on par with national trends). 9 in 10 people diagnosed with HIV are being linked to treatment within 3 months. 8 out of 10 people living with HIV in Dane County are virally suppressed, meaning they can’t spread HIV to others. 

The rate of new HIV diagnoses is decreasing over the past decade

We still have a lot of work to do.

Syphilis rates are rising among women in Dane County. In 2021, there were 135 people diagnosed with syphilis in Dane County. Women were 24% of those diagnoses, compared to 9-15% from previous years. Untreated syphilis in pregnant people can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, making testing and treatment important for people who could be pregnant.

Reported sexual assaults have increased slightly since 2020. Overall, there were roughly 2,000 sexual assaults reported to Dane County law enforcement between 2017-2021. Because sexual assaults often go underreported, the true numbers are likely much higher—some estimates state that only about 20% of sexual assaults are reported.

The Dobbs decision will impact people in Dane County. In Dane County, both abortions and births have declined annually over the past 5-10 years. With Roe v. Wade being overturned last year, abortion became illegal in Wisconsin. Researchers expect a 2-4% increase in births due to the lack of legal abortion.

Inequities are not just driven by individual choices— they’re driven by systems.

Throughout the data brief, we highlight inequities that different groups experience. We also try to call out the systems behind those inequities. What does that mean? It means our choices are influenced by the world around us. Think about how much harder it is to get birth control if you don’t have health insurance. Or how much more difficult getting tested for STIs would be if you feel judged by your health care providers. Systems like poverty, stigma, racism, and access to health care all have big impacts on our health.  

Learn more by reading the full report.

person selecting condoms from a bowl

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

Was this page helpful to you?