CDC: 20 million new sexually transmitted infections yearly
A vaccine can help protect preteen boys and girls against some types of human papillomavirus that can lead to disease.
February 13th, 2013
05:03 PM ET

CDC: 20 million new sexually transmitted infections yearly

There are about 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States, costing some $16 billion in direct medical costs, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young people are disproportionately affected, the agency said, with half of all new infections occurring in people ages 15 through 24.

"In general, CDC estimated the total number of infections in the calendar year, rather than the number of individuals with infection, since one person can have more than one STI at a given time" or more than one episode of a single STI, officials said. But "CDC used conservative assumptions in generating its estimates, so the true numbers of STIs in the United States may be even higher than estimated." 

The new data highlights the unique challenges of each infection type.

For example, human papillomavirus (HPV) accounts for about 14 million of all new infections, the CDC says. About 90% of HPV infections disappear within two years without causing serious harm, but others can lead to diseases including cervical cancer in women. A vaccine is available and recommended for 11- and 12-year-old boys and girls; it protects against some of the most common types of HPV that can lead to disease, according to the agency.

In contrast, HIV infects a much smaller 41,000 people each year, but lifelong treatment and care costs an estimated $304,000 per person, and about 18,000 people with AIDS die each year in the United States, according to the data.

There are more than 110 million STIs nationwide overall among men and women, the CDC says. The majority of those are HPV infections, estimated at 79.1 million.

"Because some STIs - especially HIV - require lifelong treatment and care, they are by far the costliest," according to the analysis. In addition, HPV is particularly costly due to the expense of treating HPV-related cancers. However, the annual cost of curable STIs is also significant ($742 million). Among these, chlamydia is most common and therefore the most costly."

"All STIs are preventable. They're all treatable, and many are curable. But if they're left untreated, they can lead to pretty serious lifelong problems and even death," says Catherine Satterwhite, a CDC epidemiologist and lead author of the new estimates.

"Individuals need to talk openly to their sexual partners, and to their doctors about getting tested and they need to reduce their individual risk. They need to vaccinate. They need to consider ways to reduce their risk like practicing abstinence, using condoms correctly and consistently every time, and being in a mutually monogamous relationship."

The CDC recommends that adults and adolescents be tested for HIV at least once.  Additional recommendations:

- All sexually active women aged 25 and younger should be screened annually for chlamydia, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.

- At-risk sexually active women, such as those with new or multiple sex partners, should be screened yearly for gonorrhea.

- All pregnant women should be screened for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia and hepatitis B, and at-risk pregnant women should be screened for gonorrhea at the first prenatal visit.

- All HIV-positive women should be screened annually for trichomoniasis.

- All sexually active gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men should be screened at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV; men who have multiple or anonymous male sex partners should be screened more frequently for STIs (three- to six-month intervals), and men who have sex with men and use illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, or have partners who do, should be screened more frequently.

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Filed under: CDC • Conditions • HIV/AIDS • HPV • Living Well • Sex

soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. boungiorno


    February 13, 2013 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leo

      Have you seenor heard of some of the stuff that is out there what can rot your junk off. I remember back in the day "Hustler" ran a section about it, with picture's. No thanks, but good luck to the fitest.

      February 13, 2013 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
    • jojo1234

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      May 27, 2013 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
  2. BaconIsBacon

    STD's are not so prevalent there are dating websites for them. CNN even reported on it a few years ago.

    February 13, 2013 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • My Motto

      No glove, no love.

      February 15, 2013 at 04:01 | Report abuse |
    • DianD

      "STDs are not so prevalent", really? Ok then. The article you liked here says "one in four women has HPV".... well?
      It has come down to forming STD dating sites; a sign of the times; since meeting someone at a club sounds that risky.

      February 26, 2013 at 02:23 | Report abuse |
  3. Pete

    There is a way to stop the spread of STDs. Stop fooling around. Most of the newly infected are people who can't keep it in their pants. Think twice before that one night stand.

    February 13, 2013 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. dyfts

    Why are the only people listed in the bullet points regarding screening women and gay men? Why don't straight men need screening? I would think they are the ones passing this to straight women. Seems odd to only treat a portion of the carriers.

    February 13, 2013 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • angro

      u mad?

      February 13, 2013 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
    • RLM

      Hmmm...If I only have sexual relations with my wife, and if I have never had sexual relations with anyone but my wife. And if my wife only has sexual relations with me, and if she has never done the the same with anyone else. Oh, wait. Now I am confused. That isn't possible. That isn't cool or fashionable. That is't what animals do. That is just archaic, irrational thinking. That will never work out.

      February 14, 2013 at 06:19 | Report abuse |
    • SkepticalOne

      What RLM doesn't know is that I'm doing his wife too.

      February 14, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • RLM

      SkepticalOne... I am really jealous of people like you. I really am. You have control of society. You are winning. And the US is in great shape because of it. Respect is the standard of our society. Violence is non-existent. Our children are among the top students in the world. There are only about 40 reported crimes that occur every minute of every day. That is great! Corporate fraud really does not occur. And the news headlines are consistently positive and uplifting. The current state of the economy is fantastic. And STIs/STDs are at an all time low. Finally, the way that you treat people just contributes so much to our lives. I am so glad that there are so many great people like you that are controlling our society.

      February 14, 2013 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
  5. RLM

    Wow, with all the massive amount of dollars spent in to sex ed, a person would have to believe that the STD numbers would be constantly decreasing. Education is the answer for all of our social ills, is it not?

    Some day you will understand Mr. and Mrs. Progressive.

    February 14, 2013 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HaHaHa

      Mr. and Mrs. Conservatives kids are catching the clap as well. Suck on that.

      February 14, 2013 at 19:56 | Report abuse |
    • ShackaLacka

      Perhaps the people spreading STDs are those who don't have access to quality sex ed. Do you know what we get without education about sex ed and the biology of reproduction? Statements like the one made by the esteemed Todd Akin. God forbid we understand how our bodies work.

      February 14, 2013 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • BZX

      As always sex ed does not solve the problem. Cause people will do what they want even with the facts in front of them. I had a college roomate who was a sex therapist major. Me being an physic major told her that she probable should not go out and sleep with said guy. She was a virgin at the time. As you expect did not listen. During the summer, she sheepishly tells me that she caught the clap. No amount of information will fix the fact that people are hard of hearing and will whatever they want hoping to beat the odds. I taught Sex ED in my Catholic school and still ask me how many of my classmate got some STD or is pregnant with the baby daddy running somewhere. You can't fix stubbornness nor can you curb it. All you get is wasted tax dollars and inform idiots.

      February 20, 2013 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • DianD

      Education actually is the best way to bring about responsibility in sexual behavior. Health care providers and responsible parents simply cannot afford to leave it up to google to educate the young. Once you are informed you know better than to ACT with carelessness. Key phrase: you know better.

      February 26, 2013 at 02:36 | Report abuse |
  6. marie paul

    Im just glad that I didnt get one.

    February 14, 2013 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. empresstrudy

    So all that sex education has worked.

    February 14, 2013 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DianD

      Yeah, because we'd be better off without sex ed... Girls believing they can get pregnant off a toilet seat would serve us better!

      February 26, 2013 at 02:41 | Report abuse |
  8. PeriSoft

    "20 million new sexually transmitted infections yearly"

    Sounds like my high school...

    February 14, 2013 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. dana

    CDC doesn't want you tested for herpes. You forgot to mention that, CNN. Shame on you both.

    February 14, 2013 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DianD

      Why not?

      February 26, 2013 at 02:37 | Report abuse |
  10. HaHaHa

    A nation of sanctimonious d0ucheb@gs is reaping its just rewards.

    February 14, 2013 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Alan

    All of the tright comments reveal just how far gone our society is. I was one who waited until I married to enjoy sex, and I am disease free–so we know abstinance works. And we know that the scriptures teach us abstinance until married. Isn't it great that we have a God that lets us choose wether we want to follow his rules or not. Ironically (sadly), there are a lot of "fornicators" out there that claim to be Christian and believe in the Bible. There are also a lot of people out there that don't have the self control god gave a rat. Jake was right–disease and broken homes are the consequenses of our actions.

    February 14, 2013 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      It technically isn't free will if your future has already been predetermined by your god.

      February 15, 2013 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
  12. jdoe

    This means that within a few decades everybody in the U.S. will have at least one STD.

    February 15, 2013 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. fiftyfive55

    How can they use the term "dissprportionately affects young people" when it is young people who basically have all the sex ? Does anybody realize or remember how strong reproductive hormones are in young people ? The human body is made to reproduce at a young age when the body is strongest so the desire for sex is the strongest,just because a lot of folks wait til they are old to have kids doesnt discount the facts of reproduction and the ability to reproduce healthier kids at a younger age.

    February 15, 2013 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ruth

    Women pay attention.....you go out and have sex with one man that has had sex with 25 women ,you just had sex with 25 different people,and then you go and have sex with another man that has had sex with another 25 women......and it just keeps adding up,

    February 15, 2013 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Lisa

    I wonder how many of these STDs cases are brought on through the slave trade that's flourishing right here in the good ol' US of A? How many married men pay pimps to rape underage boys and girls that have been broken into the trade, and then those same married men pass it on to their wives/mistresses? These articles always frustrate me because it never mentions the high prevalence of men paying blood money to slave traders for children. It's a very weird omission, if you ask me. A bright stark spotlight should be put on this aspect. Disease-infested men disgust me. Did you know that women can smell STDs on men, usually without realizing it? If you attune yourself to it, you can actually smell it. It smells bitter and rotten. It's subtle, but it's there. Yuck.

    February 17, 2013 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Lisa

    @Alan, one doesn't have to be a Christian to be disease-free. I'm not a Christian. I don't go to church. Yet, I'm disease-free. As a teenager, I knew it was a real bad idea to start having sex. Nearly all of my friends during that time who had sex early either got an STD or got pregnant. Some aborted, some kept their babies but had a rough go of motherhood. One guy friend in high school came over to my house in tears. He was about 17 or 18 years old. He just found out that a 14-year old girl he had sex with aborted the baby they unintentionally created together. There was a lot wrong with this picture obviously. First, the age difference. Second, the fact that he refused to wear condoms. Third, he was highly sexually active with multiple partners before and after having sex with a 14-year old. It was just so complicated. I knew then that I made the right decision to not rush into sex just because "everybody else was doing it". I'm now a married mother of two, almost 40 years old, and disease-free and never had to deal with having an abortion or giving up a child for adoption or dealing with early motherhood. My mom had me when she was 18. It was very rough on her. And on me too. Sex is not a bad thing at all. It's survival. It's a feel-good activity. It's how it's used when trouble starts. Be smart about it. There is so much more to life than just sex. I understand that guys, in particular, have a strong sex drive. That's why sports are there. And jobs. And schools. Guys can re-channel at least some of their sex drive towards other areas of creation of life. Again, like I said, just be smart about it. It doesn't have to be so complicated.

    February 17, 2013 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. John

    This list is far from complete without mentioning the scourge of Genital Herpes. Truly a curse to those afflicted with it, worse yet those infected that are unaware and passing it on.

    February 19, 2013 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. stalinadsouza

    How are Sexually Transmitted Infections originally Formed?

    I don’t mean by catching them off somebody, I already know about that.
    What I mean is How are they originally formed?

    Fir instance, the first person to ever have an STI, they couldn’t have caught it off somebody could they

    All I want to know is what causes them


    February 26, 2013 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Stefan Broda

    Thanks a lot for this write up – especially summarizing CDC's recommendations for screening as well. I linked to it from my blog post about the creation of BeforeWeDo (http://blog.beforewedo.com/2013/02/folsom-street-fair-hiv-testing-and.html). Thanks again!

    April 22, 2013 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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