Sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and venereal diseases (VD), are infections that are spread through sexual contact. Common types of STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, and the human papillomavirus (HPV). The spread of STDs can be prevented through abstinence, education, STD testing, vaccination and the use of condoms. However, from 2011 to 2015, around 42 percent of women aged 20 to 24 years reported they had not used condoms in the past year, while only 27 percent of men aged 23 to 25 stated they had received an STD test from 2013 to 2015.

Such information may explain a rise in the number of cases of various STDs in recent years. In 2018, the rate of chlamydia in the U.S. reached its highest level since 1985, with an estimated 540 people per 100,000 population suffering from the disease. Rates of chlamydia were highest among women aged 20 to 24 years in 2018, and the state of Alaska reported the highest rates of any U.S. state at that time with a rate of 772 per 100,000 population.

Similarly, the number of reported cases of gonorrhea has also risen steadily in recent years. In 2018, there were approximately 583,405 reported cases of this STD, the highest number since the 1980s. In that same year, gonorrhea affected males and females aged 20 to 24 years almost equally, but disproportionately affected African Americans of both genders. Following a similar trend, the number of cases of syphilis also reached a recent high in 2018, with men who have sex only with men accounting for around 48 percent of such cases.

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Sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.

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