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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Nurse reviewing instruction with patient

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 20 million new infections occur in the United States each year, with half of them occurring among adolescents and young adults ages 15–24. Many STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be asymptomatic; however, if left untreated, STDs can lead to infertility and increase the risk of acquiring other STDs. For pregnant women, there are additional risks of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant death.

In addition to the physical consequences of STDs, these diseases also exert a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at approximately $16 billion annually