Sexually transmitted diseases including syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, HPV, Hepatitis B and trichomoniasis not only pay a high toll on the health of nearly 19.7 million Americans a year, but cost approximately $16 billion to treat annually according to a new report from the CDC.
“Young people ages 15-24 have borne a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted diseases for as long as the agency has kept records,” commented Catherine Satterwhite, an author of one of the reports, adding that “young women are at greater risk, particularly from human papilloma virus (linked to cancer), and chlamydia.
In fact, chalymdia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.In 2011, 1,412,791 cases were reported to CDC from 50 states and the District of Columbia, although health experts estimate 2.86 million infections occur annually. A large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic and do not seek testing. If left untreated, however, it can lead to potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy, or infertility.
Chlamydia is most prevalent among sexually-active young people, with 1 in 15 sexually active girls 14-19 suspected of having the disease. In addition the CDC states that those in that age group have nearly three times more cases than those 25-39 years old. It is also five times more likely to be diagnosed in African Americans than in non-hispanic whites.
The sad part is that all sexually transmitted diseases are preventable, and many are curable and all are treatable, although many of those infected often lack adequate health insurance, as well as trouble accessing care.
“Getting people tested more appropriately such as making sure more young women are screened for chlamydia and other sexually active adults are tested for HIV would help,” she added.