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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new data estimating that one-third of Americans have sexually transmitted diseases or infections. The new data shows that people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to have the diseases, the most common of which is the human papillomavirus. The agency urged STD testing for all sexually active Americans, especially those who are most at risk for infection.
Rise in STDs
The data showed that younger Americans are disproportionately affected by the diseases, accounting for half of all new infections, though accounting for only a quarter of the entire population deemed sexually active. HPV was found to be the most common STD, followed by chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B, HIV and trichomoniasis. The fact that many of these STDs have no symptoms was cited as a major reason for their continued spread and further reason why those vulnerable should seek STD tests.
These rates have been growing steadily in the past few decades. Approximately 20 million new cases are diagnosed each year, making for a total of roughly 110 million Americans currently living with STDs. In 1996, there were just over 15 million reported cases, noted the CDC.
The nation spends more than $16 billion fighting STDs each year, with a large amount of the money being appropriated to fight HIV and AIDS, which are lifelong conditions. A lab test online can show the presence of STDs and allow for treatment to begin.
Complications from STDs
Of the most common STDs, chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis can be treated relatively easily. However, these diseases often show no symptoms, making them very difficult to track with a proper lab test, noted Medline Plus. If untreated, these diseases can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications.
Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility in men and women. They can also reduce the power of the immune system, making those with the diseases more susceptible to HIV, which can progress to AIDS. While HIV and AIDS have no cure, catching the infection earlier can help make the lives of those infected longer and of better quality.
Untreated syphilis infections can cause severe neurological damage. The disease can also negatively affect the lungs, heart and other major bodily systems.
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