STIs and HIV/AIDS

Narrative

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, 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). Overall, there were 2,001.7 reported cases of chlamydia per 100,000 adolescents aged 15–19 years in 2012 (Figure 1). Rates of chlamydia vary by sex, with 3,291.5 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 female adolescents and 774.8 cases per 100,000 male adolescents. Gonorrhea was less common, with rates of 376.8 per 100,000 among all adolescents, 521.2 per 100,000 female adolescents, and 239.0 per 100,000 male adolescents (Figure 2).

chlamydia infection rates

Figure 1 Source

gonorrhea infection rates

Figure 2 Source

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a disease that destroys cells that are critical to a healthy immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is diagnosed when HIV has weakened the immune system enough that the body has difficulty fighting disease and infections. Early age at sexual initiation, unprotected sex, drug use, older sex partners, and lack of awareness place adolescents at an increased risk of contracting HIV.3 By the end of 2010, an estimated 7,272 adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age were living with a diagnosed HIV infection. With regard to race and ethnicity, 148.2 per 100,000 non-Hispanic Black adolescents and 7.1 per 100,000 non-Hispanic White adolescents were living with HIV.

Abstaining from sex and drug use is the most effective way to avoid HIV. Adolescents and young adults can also reduce their risk by knowing where to get tested for HIV, how to negotiate safer sex, and how to use a condom correctly. CDC has developed interventions that can be carried out locally to help reduce the risk to adolescents. One such program, Choosing Life: Empowerment! Action! Results!, is targeted to adolescents older than 16 and living with HIV/AIDS or at high risk for HIV.4

Data Sources

Figure 1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2012. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.

Figure 2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2012. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.

Endnotes

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). CDC Fact Sheets. Accessed September 20, 2014.

2 Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W Jr. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2004:36(1):6–10.

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Who’s at Risk for HIV?. Accessed September 21, 2014.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV Infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2010 (PDF). Accessed May 20, 2012.

Data

Statistical Significance Test

Calculate the difference between two estimates:

Calculated Z-Test Result 0.9567433 Not statistically significant

We follow statistical conventions in defining a significant difference by a p-value less than 0.05 where there is a less than 5% probability of observing a difference of that magnitude or greater by chance alone if there were really no difference between estimates. The 95% confidence interval includes a plausible range of values for the observed difference; 95% of random samples would include the true difference with fewer than 5% of random samples failing to capture the true difference.

This website allows comparisons between two estimates using the independent z-test for differences in rates or proportions. This test is appropriate for comparing independent populations across years (e.g., 2011 versus 2012) or subgroups (e.g., Male versus Female) on corresponding measures. To the extent possible, the functionality of this application has limited estimate comparisons based on appropriate use of the independent z-test. However, some tables present subgroup categories within broader categories that will allow comparisons between non-independent populations (e.g., low birth weight and very low birth weight). Users should exercise caution when interpreting these test results, which will frequently overstate statistical significance.

For some tables, the website does not allow for comparisons between two estimates, even though the data represent independent populations. Generally, this is because the standard errors were not publicly available at the time this website was created.

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