Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces
Health Status > Health Indicators
Sexually Transmitted Infections

Reported rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among females vary by a number of factors, including age and race/ethnicity. Rates are highest among adolescents and young adults, and non-Hispanic Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Natives. In 2005, there were 1,729 cases of chlamydia and 590 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 non-Hispanic Black females, compared to 237 and 43 cases, respectively, per 100,000 non-Hispanic White females. American Indian/Alaska Native females also have high rates of STIs with 1,778 and 170 cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, respectively, per 100,000 females.

Although these STIs are treatable with antibiotics, they can have serious health consequences. Active infections can increase the odds of contracting another STI, such as HIV, and untreated STIs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Another STI, genital human papillomavirus (HPV), has been estimated to affect at least 50 percent of the sexually active population. The first study to examine the prevalence of HPV in the United States was recently released, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Overall, 26.8 percent of females aged 14–59 years were found to have HPV, with the highest rates occurring among the 20- to 24-year-old age group (44.8 percent). There are many different types of HPV, and some, which are referred to as “high-risk,” can cause cancer. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine that protects women from four strains of HPV that can be the source of cervical cancer, precancerous lesions, and genital warts.1

1 FDA News. FDA Licenses New Vaccine for Prevention of Cervical Cancer and Other Diseases in Females Caused by Human Papillomavirus. June 8, 2006.


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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.