How serious of a problem are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States?

For many reasons it is difficult to determine the exact prevalence (number of currently infected people) or incidence (number of new cases per year) of sexually transmitted infections.

However, the STI incidence rate was estimated at 18.9 million per year for the year 20001– a 6 million increase over a 1996 estimate.2 Below are incidence and prevalence rate estimates for STIs:2-7

 

STIs in the US2-7
Incidence and Prevalence Estimates
STI Incidence* Prevalence**
HPV2 6 million 20 million
Trichmoniasis3 7.4 million unknown
Chalmydia4 1.2 million 2 million
Genital Herpes 1 million 45 million
Gonorrhea4 301,000 unknown
Hepatitis B5 38,000 Up to 1 million
Syphilis4 14,000 Unknown
HIV 50,000 1.2 million

 

* Number of new infections occurring in the population in one year

** Number of infections found in the population including those from previous years

 

References:
1. Weinstock H, Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W Jr. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2004;36(1):6-10.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tracking the Hidden Epidemics: Trends In STDs In the United States, 2000. Atlanta GA: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2000. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Trends2000/default.htm. Accessed: June 29, 2012.

3. CDC. Genital HPV Infection. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2009. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm. Accessed June 29, 2012.

4. CDC. Trichomoniasis. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2007. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm. Accessed June 29, 2012.

5. CDC, Trends in Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States, 2009: National Data for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats09/trends.htm. Accessed June 29, 2012.

6. CDC. Disease Burden from Viral Hepatitis A, B, and C in the United States. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Statistics/index.htm  Accessed June 29, 2012.

7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS in the United States: At a Glance Fact Sheet. Atlanta, GA: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012 March. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/PDF/HIV_at_a_glance.pdf. Accessed 2012 June 29.

Reviewed: June 29, 2012.