According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people ages 15 – 24 account for half of the 19.7 million sexually transmitted infections that occur annually. The CDC reported data on eight sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, herpes and HPV.
So, you know, happy Valentine’s Day or whatever.
Lack of insurance and an inability to access sexual health services (I’m looking at you here, Texas) were major factors in the disproportionate representation of young people in the findings, said Catherine Satterwhite, an author of one of the reports and a CDC epidemiologist. Young women stand a greater risk of infection than men, she added.
“We’ve seen a disproportionate burden for quite a while,” Satterwhite said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. “Young women in particular are at greater risk.”
High on the list of infections that will make you want to run out and buy a chastity belt? Drug-resistant gonorrhea. The agency reported in a separate study published Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that the threat of the drug-resistant strain is a result of too few antibiotics in development and a lack of alternative therapies, according to the agency.
And these diseases aren’t cheap to treat, either: The U.S. spends $16 billion each year doing just that.
Satterwhite’s advice? (For those who haven’t been newly inspired to take a vow of celibacy, that is.) Use condoms and dental dams consistently or keep your sexin’ to mutually monogamous relationships.