According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are an estimated 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reported in the United States every year. This is totally a huge number!
Half of these cases are reported among people aged between 15 and 24 years. The American health care system spends about $16 billion testing and treating STIs.
STDs in the US in Numbers
Chlamydia is currently the highest ranking STD with 1.5 million cases reported in 2015 only. The second most reported STD in the US is gonorrhea whose symptoms are similar to those of chlamydia. Cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea have been rising in the United States since 2008.
More than half of those infected with the two STDs will normally not show any symptoms. Common symptoms, when present, include a burning sensation when passing urine and a discoloured discharge.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be easily treated. If they are not treated they cause huge complications are they continue to worsen. Some women can even face difficulties or even be unable to get pregnant. In pregnant women, untreated gonorrhea can cause child blindness.
When it come to syphilis, another common STD, the infection is also on the rise across the US. In 2015, syphilis cases reported rose to 24,000 cases, up by 20% from the cases reported in 2014. The STD cases continues to rise and is currently at its highest level in the last 20 years.
Syphilis is contracted when an individual comes into direct contact with an infected person’s chancre. A chancre is a painless open sore. The STD is also transmitted from an infected mother to her unborn child in cases where the mother is not treated before delivery.
Common symptoms of syphilis include the painless sore and a rash on your palms and soles of your feet. Untreated syphilis is dangerous as it can spread to the brain and the nervous system causing damage to internal organs such as the brain and liver and can even result in death.
HIV Causing Worry Too
Though HIV is not the highest reported STD, the cases are still worrisome in the country. HIV is transmitted through contact with either infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid or breast milk. You cannot get infected with HIV via casual contact such as shaking hands. HIV destroys cells responsible of fighting diseases making your immune system very weak. You therefore become prone to getting attacked by any disease or infection.
Currently there is still no cure for HIV but patients receive Antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) that suppress viral load and increase their immunity. ARVs make it possible for HIV positive people to have a healthier and longer life.
Protect Yourself From STDs
STDs are easy to prevent but you have to be responsible of your health. You can greatly reduce the risk of contracting an STD by first acknowledging that they are real and then take action to protect yourself.
Ways to protect yourself from any STD include abstinence, correct use of protection and sticking to one sexual partner. It is also recommended that you and your sexual partner go for STD testing at least once a year and most importantly before you engage in any sexual act with a new partner.