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Sexually Transmitted Infections

Narrative

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital human papillomavirus (HPV) can pose serious, long-term health complications for adolescents and young adults.1 Although young people aged 15–24 years represent only one-quarter of the sexually experienced population, they acquire nearly half of all new STIs.2

Among adolescents and young adults, Chlamydia continues to be the most common of all the STIs reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 2,049 chlamydial infections per 100,000 adolescents aged 15-19 years and 2,270 per 100,000 young adults aged 20-24 years in 2010. Gonorrhea was less common, with rates of 410 and 490 per 100,000 in these age groups, respectively. Rates for both diseases vary by race and ethnicity. Among adolescents aged 15-19 years, the highest rate of chlamydia was reported among non-Hispanic Blacks (4,993 per 100,000), followed by American Indian/Alaska Natives (1,992 per 100,000). Rates of gonorrhea were also highest among these two racial/ethnic groups for adolescents and young adults.

Unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, HPV infections are not required to be reported to the CDC; however, persistent infection of specific types of HPV can lead to cancer.3 The overall prevalence of all types of HPV among females aged 14-59 is estimated to be 42.5 percent.4 A vaccine for certain types of HPV was approved in 2006 for use in females aged 9–26 years and licensed in October 2009 for use in males aged 9-26 years.5 In 2010, 53.0 percent of females aged 13–17 years had received at least one dose of the three-dose series.6

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). CDC Fact Sheets. Accessed: August 31, 2012.

2 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.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV and Cancer. Accessed: August 31, 2012.

4 Hariri S, Unger ER, Sternberg M, Dunne EF, Swan D, Patel S, et al. Prevalence of genital human papillomavirus among females in the United States, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003–2006. J Infect Dis. 2011; 204(4):566-73

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2010. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2011

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National and state vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13 through 17 years—United States, 2010. MMWR 2011;60:1117–23

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 Infection Rates 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 Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders were not available.
†May include Hispanics.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2010. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2011.
Total 2,049 2,270
Non-Hispanic White 662 875
Non-Hispanic Black 4,993 5,254
Hispanic 1,316 1,713
Asian/Pacific Islander*† 374 630
American Indian/Alaska Native*† 1,992 2,577
Reported Gonorrhea Infection Rates Among Adolescents and Young Adults, by Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2010
Race/Ethnicity Rate per 100,000 Population
15-19 Years 20-24 Years
*Separate estimates for Asians and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders were not available.
†May include Hispanics.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2010. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2011.
Total 410 490
Non-Hispanic White 72 116
Non-Hispanic Black 1,521 1,882
Hispanic 141 213
Asian/Pacific Islander*† 43 73
American Indian/Alaska Native*† 293 397