Each year there are about 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States that end up costing at least $16 million in direct medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC used conservative numbers with the estimates, so in reality the real number of STIs in the United States may be even higher than the estimated. People between the ages of 15 and 24, are disproportionately affected by the new STIs and half of all new infections occur to young people.
The new information highlights each of the infection’s challenges.
The CDC stated that the human papillomavirus (HPV) represents around 14 million of all new infections. Although about 90% of HPV infections disappear within two years without causing serious harm, some of those infections can lead to cervical cancer in women. According to the agency, there is a vaccine for the most common types of HPV that is recommended for 11 and 12-year-old boys and girls.
HIV on the other hand only infects about 41,000 people each year, but unlike the HPV it has a lifelong affect on its victims; HIV requires lifelong treatment and care that ends up costing around $304,000 per person. According to the data about 18,ooo people die each year with AIDS in the United States.
The CDC recommends that people be tested at least once for HIV; all HIV positive women should test themselves yearly for trichomoniasis. Sexually active women that are under the age of 25 should be tested annually for chlamydia, those with multiple sex partners should be screened for gonorrhea yearly. For pregnant women it is recommended for them to be screened for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B. Sexually active men who have sexual relations with other men should test themselves once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV; those that have multiple partners should be screened more frequently for STIs (three- to six-month intervals).
There are more than 110 million STIs across the country, and the CDC affirms that the majority, an estimated 79.1 million, are HPV infections. STIs are an expensive medical cost, around $742 million a year, but all STIs are preventable, treatable, and many are curable. To prevent getting any STIs individuals can get a vaccine, practice abstinence, and use condoms correctly and consistently every time.
“Individuals need to talk openly to their sexual partners, and to their doctors about getting tested and they need to reduce their individual risk.” said Catherine Satterwhite, a CDC epidemiologist and lead author of the new estimates.