While we all know by now how important it is to have safe sex, the fact is that STDs are on the rise and there are millions of new cases every year. While many of the infections are curable or at least treatable, no one wants to end up with one. Here’s what you should know about the biggest STD trends in 2019.
According to the World Health Organization, more than one million STIs are acquired every day worldwide.
Each year, around 357 million people will be diagnosed with either gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichinosis, or syphilis. More than 500 million people have the herpes virus, and more than 290 million women have HPV. Although these numbers are international and not just based in the United States, those are still some pretty scary facts!
Want to know what STDs are most prominent in your state? Check out this awesome website.
According to this, Alaska has the most chlamydia infections, the most gonorrhea infections are in Mississippi, and the highest rate of syphilis infections are in Louisiana. Alaska has the highest percentage of the population with an STD at 1.39%, followed by Mississippi at 1.28%, and Louisiana at 1.26%. Want to live somewhere safe? Wyoming had the lowest rate of syphilis. Check out the website for further statistics and see where your state lands!
According to Dr. Laura H. Bachmann, MD, MPH, there’s been a large increase in congenital syphilis.
Dr. Bachmann is the chief medical officer for the Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to Dr. Bachmann, “40% of pregnancies with untreated syphilis will result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.” Congenital syphilis is when a pregnant woman passes syphilis to her unborn baby through the placenta. Testing and treatment for syphilis is available, so make sure if you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you talk to your doctor about your risk and your testing options.
According to healthypeople.gov, women are more at risk from STDs than men.
While women don’t necessarily get more STDs than men, they do suffer more serious and more frequent health consequences as a result. Another scary fact? People ages 15 to 24 make up half of all new STD diagnoses. So if you’re a woman in that age group, its especially important to communicate with your partner, use protection, and get frequent check-ups with your ob-gyn or primary care provider.
The most common STIs are still gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, according to ashasexualhealth.org.
That being said, this site also shows that one in eight people ages 14-49 have genital herpes in the United States, and 80% of sexually active people will acquire an HPV infection at some point in their lives. Overall? One in two sexually active people will get an STD by age 25, according to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA). That’s a 50/50 chance!
According to hiv.gov, 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV.
What’s even scarier? One in seven of those are not aware they have it. The good news is that the number of new infections of HIV remained around the same from 2012 to 2016. But more of these diagnoses are in the southern United States. Men who have sex with men are still at the highest risk for HIV, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re a heterosexual woman your risk is zero. Make sure you use protection and learn your partner’s history.
There are some other STDs out there you may never have heard of.
According to the CDC, this includes things you probably didn’t consider an STD (lice, scabies- Did you know you can get them down there?) and a few others you may not have known existed. Have you ever hear of Mycoplasma genitalium? Neither had I! Click the link if you want to find out more.
Certain things put you more at risk for STDs.
You’re more likely to be diagnosed with an STD if don’t get screened for STDs, are scared to tell your doctor about any behaviors that may have put you at risk for STDs, you’re a young woman, you don’t have health insurance or reliable transportation, or you’ve had multiple sexual partners. I think the takeaway here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. If you don’t have health insurance or reliable transportation, your doctor’s office may be able to link you to some resources that can help you. Don’t be afraid to call!
Young people account for a lot of new infections.
According to this same website, people ages 15 to 24 account for 70% of gonorrhea infections, 63% of chlamydia infections, 49% of HPV infections, 45% of genital herpes infections, 26% of HIV infections, and 20% of syphilis infections. Those are some high percentages for people in that age bracket!
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