This month the Centers for Disease Control published its latest report on the incidence, prevalence, and cost of STIs in the US. Even I was shaking my head. The report states that there are approximately 20 million new infections each year costing the American health care system $16 BILLION in direct medical costs alone. While most STIs will not cause physical harm if diagnosed and treated early, some have the potential to cause severe health issues. This is a dollar amount only. What about the emotional cost? How are relationships or potential relationships affected? Priceless.
Nearly 50% of the new cases are found in people between 15 and 24, though this age group accounts for only 25% of the sexually active population. STIs don’t show much of a gender preference. Women have a slight edge at 51% of new cases compared to 49% in men. I always wonder about all of the people who have not been tested and have no symptoms.
What to do? More education, easier access to testing, more free testing available, better communication between partners, condom promotion? It must be a cultural shift that includes all of the above. To read the entire report click here.
Please don’t assume you are not at risk because you’ve only had one partner, always use a condom, or have never had a symptom. To make an appointment for an STI check visit us at Planned Parenthood.