Some frightening statistics were just released by two studies about the amount of Americans with STDs, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
According to the studies, more than 110 milion men and women in America have a sexually transmitted infection.
The two studies were published on February 13, in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. It estimated that millions are walking around with an STD.
Even more startling is the fact that nearly 20 million new infections occur each year, and half of those are young people ages 15 to 24.
It is also pretty costly to treat these infections. Treating 20 million new cases each year over a lifetime costs close to $16 billion.
The studies included eight STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus, herpes simplex virus type 2, HIV, human papillomavirus, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
Many of these diseases cause serious health issues, including infertility and cancer. Though women suffer greater consequences, men are just as likely as women to contract STDs.
"Sexually transmitted infections are a significant risk to people of any age who are sexually active, with some [infections] capable of transmitting through skin-to-skin contact," said Kaitlin Doyle, women's health coordinator. "We have to take measures to protect ourselves."
Dr. Jill Rabin agreed, saying that "establishing an open and honest relationship with your physician or other health care provider is a very important first step. Screening today can be done with just a few easy tests, and to reduce risk always remember to use protection."
Here are some general suggestions by the CDC:
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- Everyone should get at least one HIV test.
- All sexually active women aged 25 and under, along with older women who have risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, should be screened annually for chlamydia.
- At-risk sexually active women should be screened annually for gonorrhea.
- Pregnant women should be screened for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia and hepatitis B, while at-risk pregnant women should be screened for gonorrhea during their first prenatal visit.
- All HIV-infected women should be screened yearly for trichomoniasis.
- All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be screened at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be screened more frequently for STDs (preferably three- to six-month intervals). In addition, those who also use illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine, or whose partners use drugs should be screened more frequently.