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Sexually Transmitted Infections

Narrative

In general, adolescents and young adults are at much higher risk than older adults of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital human papillomavirus (HPV). Although young people aged 15–24 years represent only one-quarter of the sexually experienced population, they acquire nearly half of all new STIs.1

Chlamydia continues to be the most common reportable STI among adolescents and young adults. There were 2,000 chlamydial infections per 100,000 adolescents aged 15-19 years and 2,165 per 100,000 young adults aged 20-24 years in 2009. Gonorrhea was less common, with rates of 405 and 479 per 100,000 in these age groups, respectively. Rates vary by race/ethnicity: among adolescents aged 15-19 years, the highest rates of chlamydia was reported among non-Hispanic Blacks (6,765 per 100,000), followed by American Indian/Alaska Natives (2,718 per 100,000). Rates of gonorrhea were also highest among these two groups.

Unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, HPV is not required to be reported to the CDC. However, a recent study indicated that approximately one-quarter of females aged 14–19 years and nearly 45 percent of those aged 20–24 years are infected with HPV.2 A vaccine for certain types of HPV was approved in 2006 for use in females aged 9–26 years.3 In 2009, 44.3 percent of females aged 13–17 years had received at least one dose of the three-dose series.4

1 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 Dunne EF, Unger ER, Sternberg M, McQuillan G, Swan DC, Patel SS, Markowitz LE. Prevalence of HPV infection among females in the United States. JAMA. 2007 Feb;297(8):876-8.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of STD Prevention. HPV and HPV vaccines: information for healthcare providers. June 2006. Accessed August 2009.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National, state, and local area vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 years—United States, 2009. MMWR 2010;59: 1018-23.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

chlamydia among adolescents graph

This image is described in the Data section.

gonorrhea among adolescents graph

Data

Reported Chlamydia Infections Among Adolescents and Young Adults, by Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2009
Race/Ethnicity Rate per 100,000 Population
15-19 Years 20-24 Years
*Separate estimates for Asians and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders not available.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2009. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
Total 2,000 2,165
Non-Hispanic White 877 1,094
Non-Hispanic Black 6,765 6,802
Hispanic 1,866 2,229
Asian/Pacific Islander (May include Hispanic)* 484 785
Asian/Pacific Islander (May include Hispanic)† 2,718 3,205
Reported Gonorrhea Infections Among Adolescents and Young Adults, by Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2009
Race/Ethnicity Rate per 100,000 Population
15-19 Years 20-24 Years
*Separate estimates for Asians and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders not available. †May include Hispanics.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2009. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
Total 405 479
Non-Hispanic White 94 132
Non-Hispanic Black 1,956 2,351
Hispanic 181 244
Asian/Pacific Islander (May include Hispanics)† 59 79
Asian/Pacific Islander (May include Hispanics.)† 317 404

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