On Wednesday, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued two new studies on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with the lead author reporting “an ongoing, severe STI epidemic.”
The studies, which estimate infection rates and medical costs related to STIs, were published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The studies also reveal new infection data for the eight most common STIs – chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, HIV and trichomoniasis.
The CDC estimates there were 20 million new incidents of infection in the United States in 2008, resulting in estimated direct medical costs of approximately $16 billion.
The U.S. has the highest rate of STIs in the industrialized world, according to the CDC, along with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the American Social Health Association.
“STIs take a big health and economic toll on men and women in the United States, especially our youth,” CDC epidemiologist Catherine Lindsey Satterwhite told NBC News.
Because every STI is preventable, Satterwhite argued, “we know that preventing STIs could save the nation billions of dollars each year.” She added that STI prevention and awareness programs targeting other infections are crucial in saving the nation that kind of money.