Published On: Thu, Feb 20th, 2014

The Top 5 most prevalent sexually transmitted infections in the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are more than 110 million sexually transmitted infections (STI) among men and women nearly split evenly. This number includes both new and existing infections.



With estimates of about 20 million new STI cases annually and 50 percent in young individuals (ages 15-24), let’s take a look at the Top 5:

1. Human papillomavirus (HPV)

By far the most prevalent STI reported, new or new and existing combined, HPV accounts for approximately 79 million of the total STIs in the United States.

The CDC says most sexually active men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives, which translates to everyone’s at risk.

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Although the body’s immune system clears most HPV naturally within two years (about 90 percent), some infections can persist causing diseases like genital warts and more seriously, cervical and other cancers.

There has been a protective vaccine available in the IS since 2006; however, the federal health agency says the HPV vaccine uptake in the US is relatively low. In 2012, a national survey found that 54% of girls aged 13-17 years had received at least 1 dose of the HPV vaccine series, but only 33% had received all 3 doses in the series. Vaccine uptake is very low among boys.

2. Herpes Simplex Virus II (HSV-2)

Genital herpes encompasses herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2) and the CDC says that more than 24 million people have new and existing HSV-2 infections. There are about three-quarters of a million new HSV-2 infections annually.

Nationwide, 16%, or about one out of six, people aged 14 to 49 years have genital HSV-2 infection.

Although HSV-2 seroprevalence is decreasing, most persons with HSV-2 have not received a diagnosis.

There is no treatment that can cure herpes. Antiviral medications can, however, prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.  In addition, daily suppressive therapy (i.e., daily use of antiviral medication) for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.

3.  Trichomoniasis 

The CDC estimates about 3.7 million new and existing infections of this parasitic STI (Trichomonas vaginalis).

This STI, unlike the others, is seen in individuals 25 years of age and up. Trichomoniasis is considered the most common curable STI; however, only about 30% develop any symptoms.

4. Chlamydia

The most common bacterial STI, Chlamydia is the most commonly reported notifiable disease in the United States.

Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. It is a very common STD, especially among young people.  It is estimated that 1 in 15 sexually active females aged 14-19 years has chlamydia.

Known as the “silent” infection because it is so often asymptomatic, untreated Chlamydia an carry some serious complications to include  pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is a major cause of infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.

In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia has been associated with pre-term delivery, and can spread to the newborn, causing an eye infection or pneumonia.

CDC recommends yearly chlamydia testing for all sexually active women age 25 or younger and older women with risk factors for chlamydial infections (e.g., women who have a new or more than one sex partner), and all pregnant women.

5. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

There are approximate 908,000 new and existing HIV infections in the United States with an estimated 40,000 new cases reported annually.

While great progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, HIV and AIDS remain a persistent problem for the United States and countries around the world.

Although there is currently no safe and effective cure at present, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is often called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others.

About 18,000 people die from AIDS annually in the US.

In addition to the human toll, STIs carry with it a huge economic burden. The CDC conservatively estimates that the lifetime cost of treating eight of the most common STIs contracted in just one year is $15.6 billion.

The CDC offers some testing recommendations for certain STIs:

  • All adults and adolescents should be tested at least once for HIV.
  • Annual chlamydia scr eening for all sexually active women age 25 and under, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.
  • Yearly gonorrhea screening for at-risk sexually active women
  • Screening at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV for all sexually active gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM).

Looking for more information on sexually transmitted infections? Are you seeking advice or want to meet someone who will understand your situation?  Visit one of the largest STD dating sites and become informed. PositiveSingles is the most trusted online dating site for people with HPV, Syphilis and other STDs and has countless members in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Europe. Get the information on the latest treatments and locations to receive appropriate health care or find the support you need and have your questions answers.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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