Young adults ages 18–24 acquire nearly half of all new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or syphilis.57 STDs affect males and females from all social strata, but there are racial and ethnic disparities.58 Women with untreated STDs may experience significant long-term health consequences, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies, and cancer of the reproductive tract. Infants infected during gestation or birth may also suffer serious health consequences.59
NOTE: Young adults were identified as receiving treatment if they answered "yes" to the following question: "In the last 12 months, have you been treated or received medication from a doctor or other medical care provider for a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or syphilis?"
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Survey of Family Growth.
57 Weinstock, H., Berman, S., and Cates, W., Jr. (2004). Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36(1), 6–10.
58 Hogben, M., and Leichliter, J.S. (2008). Social determinants and sexually transmitted disease disparities. Sexually Transmitted Disease, 35(12 suppl), S13–8.
59 Centers for Disease Control, National Prevention Information Network. (2013). STDs today. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/std/std.asp.