STIs in the US

Nearly 1 in 5 people in the US had a sexually transmitted infection

(RxWiki News) Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), a new study found.

This study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed STIs in the US, as well as the financial costs associated with them.

“The burden of STIs is staggering,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, in a press release about the study. “At a time when STIs are at an all-time high, they have fallen out of the national conversation. Yet, STIs are a preventable and treatable national health threat with substantial personal and economic impact. There is an urgent need to reverse the trend of increasing STIs, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected many STI prevention services.”

The authors of this study looked at the number of reported chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, syphilis, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), sexually transmitted hepatitis B, and sexually transmitted HIV cases in the US and estimated the number of infections across the entire population in 2018.

After crunching the numbers, these researchers found that there were around 68 million STI cases in the US on any given day. In 2018 alone, an estimated 26 million new STI cases were contracted.

Looking at the financial impact, this study estimated that STIs in the US lead to lifetime medical costs of nearly $16 billion. Of this, $13.7 billion was attributed to HIV infections.

CDC officials said STI prevention is key to reducing the burden of STIs on the US population.

“Proven STI prevention — at all levels — is a cornerstone of protecting America’s health, economic security, and wellness,” said Raul Romaguera, acting director for CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, in a press release. “There are significant human and financial costs associated with these infections, and we know from other studies that cuts in STI prevention efforts result in higher costs down the road. Preventing STIs could save billions in medical costs, but more importantly, prevention would improve the health and lives of millions of people.”

Talk to your health care provider about sexual health and the available STI prevention and treatment methods.

This study was published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

The study authors disclosed no outside funding sources or conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
February 2, 2021