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CDC report highlights the serious problem of STDs among American youth

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

While it's no secret that young individuals have the highest risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, they may not understand just how staggering the scope of this problem is among America's youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report showing that of the 20 million STDs diagnosed each year, 50 percent of them are found in people between the ages of 15 and 24. Furthermore, many individuals in this age group don't utilize STD testing services, so many of them may not even know that they have an infection or virus.

The CDC reported that of the estimated 820,000 cases of gonorrhea each year, 70 percent were found in people between the ages of 15 and 24, and of the 2.9 million chlamydia cases, 64 percent affected individuals in this age range.

The danger is real
Leaving STDs untreated can have serious consequences for young people, particularly women. The CDC pointed out that an estimated 24,000 young women experience infertility each year due to undiagnosed STDs. The organization explained that there are many possible reasons why young people have a higher risk of contracting an STD. For example, young women's bodies are more susceptible to infections and viruses than older women, and many young individuals lack access to preventive methods.

Furthermore, the CDC stated that young people tend to have more sexual partners than older individuals, which increases their risk of encountering an infection. Also, many individuals in this population do not get themselves checked for STDs because they assume that if they don't have any symptoms, they are healthy. However, the majority of STDs do not have any symptoms until the later stages.

An app for that
In order to encourage more young people to use STD testing services, there have been some smartphone applications developed that make learning more about STDs easier. For example, The Huffington Post recently spoke to Alexander Borve, who created an app at the University of California, Berkeley that allows users to take a picture of a rash or sore and submit it anonymously to a team of licensed dermatologists. These doctors will then offer recommendations about whether the user should be tested for STDs.

Of course, people shouldn't rely on a smartphone app to know with 100-percent accuracy if they need an STD test or not. Individuals who are concerned about their sexual health should utilize STD testing services so they can learn their infection status.

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