National Partnership for Women & Families

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are among the most common contagious infections in the United States, and several STIs are now at epidemic proportions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 19 million new STI cases each year, with almost half of them occurring among young people ages 15-24. Experts estimate the direct medical cost of STIs to the U.S. health care system to be as high as $15.9 billion a year.

Additionally, many STIs go undiagnosed — and some common viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital herpes, are not reported to the CDC at all. Therefore, the current rates of STI prevalence represent only a fraction of the entire public health burden.

STIs affect people of all ages and backgrounds, but young people, women and people of color are most likely to have infections and suffer the negative health consequences associated with STIs.

The National Partnership is working to raise public awareness and advance public policies to address this significant public health challenge.

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