The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new estimates that show how severe the health and economic toll of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in America have become, particularly among young people ages 15 to 24. The two new studies provide the estimates of the number of annual new infections, total number of STIs, and the estimated cost of treating these STIs. This information can be found in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The new key findings include:
- There are nearly 20 million new cases of STIs – half of them among young people (ages 15-24), in the United States.
- There are more than 110 million STIs that have been identified overall (both new and long-standing infections) among men and women nationwide.
- The total expected cost to treat the nearly 20 million STIs contracted in one year is about $16 billion, which will place even more stress on an already economically stressed U.S. health care system.
These findings include the eight common STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and trichomoniasis. While many of these will not cause serious harm, if diagnosed and treated early, the consequences of untreated STIs are often worse for women, and include infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and cervical cancer. The new study reveals that the annual number of new infections is roughly equal for young men and as it is for young women.
Th CDC urges all sexually active individuals to talk to their health care providers about STI screening, which is the first critical step to protecting their health and preventing transmission to others.