According to STD statistics, teens are more likely to be affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This article has information and statistics on the most common sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and more.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) still afflict the population in general, and they are rather common amongst sexually active teenagers. Indeed, the Guttmacher Institute reports that 48 percent of new cases of STDs each year occur in those aged 15-24. This age group represents only one fourth of the population, yet almost half of the new cases of STDs occur therein. It should therefore not come as a surprise that focus is being put on educating teenagers so that they will have protected sex and hopefully avoid contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Some of the most common STDs are Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. The Centers for Disease Control offers some statistics on each of these diseases:
For women, the teen age group – ages 15 to 19 – represented the highest rate of infection. The rate of infection in women is higher than the rate of infection in men. There is speculation that this discrepancy is due to the fact that women are more likely to be screened for any disease, and visit the doctor more regularly, than men in general. This is backed up in part by the fact that the rate of Chlamydia infection has in men has increased by almost 43 percent recently, while there has been only a 17 percent increase for women. The highest rates of Chlamydia in the U.S. can be found in the Western states and in the Southeastern states.
Like Chlamydia, gonorrhea is most prevalent amongst women who are between the ages of 15 and 19 and men in the 20 to 24 age group. Increases in the incidence of gonorrhea increased the most in teenagers as well. However, these increases are only slight; for the most part, the rate of gonorrhea has remained relatively stable. The Midwest and the South contain the largest numbers of cases of gonorrhea.
While syphilis is a sexually transmitted illness that has been thought of as belonging to the past, it is actually on the rise. The South is the region most affected by syphilis, as well as some urban areas. Syphilis is not actually considered much of a threat for teenagers; the highest rate of the disease is seen in 25 to 20 years olds. However, it is important to realize that syphilis can affect fetuses and can even be congenital.
Other STD statistics
There are STDs beyond Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, of course. One of the most common STDs is the human papillomavirus (HPV). This is a disease that can lead to cancers – such as cervical. HPV is most often associated with women, and a vaccination has been developed for the virus, in the hopes of protecting young women. HPV is most common in 14 to 19 year olds, and accounts for about half of STDs diagnosed in teenagers. It is the most common STD in the U.S. right now. Herpes and trichomoniasis are both STDs that are declining. Case data is scarce, since these STDs are declining.
Here are some additional facts about STDs, from smartersex.org:
- 20 percent of the people in the U.S. have an STD.
- It costs $8 billion each year to treat STDs (other than HIV).
- 80 percent of those with genital herpes do not know that they are infected. This probably accounts for the lack of case data on this particular STD.
- 15 percent of infertile women can trace their condition to untreated cases of the STD known as pelvic inflammatory disease.
- The STD Hepatitis B is more infectious than HIV.
With 18.9 million cases of new infection by sexually transmitted illnesses each year (according to the Guttmacher Institute) – and more than 9 million of these occurring in teenagers – it is no surprise that efforts to educate teens about safer sex practices are underway. Since many teens say that they would have sex – even without protection – many feel that making sure that kids have adequate education and access to protection is a high priority.