1 in 5 People in the U.S. Have a Sexually Transmitted Infection

Atlanta, GA–New data published by the CDC estimate that on any given day in 2018, 1 in 5 people in the U.S. had a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The analyses, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, show the burden of diagnosed and undiagnosed STIs in the U.S. and the estimated medical costs associated with STIs.

It is estimated there were:

  • Nearly 68 million STIs on any given day in 2018 (prevalent STIs).
  • 26 million newly acquired STIs in 2018 (incident STIs).
    • Nearly one in two incident STIs were acquired by people aged 15 to24 years old.
  • Nearly $16 billion in direct lifetime medical costs resulting from STIs acquired in 2018.

STIs can have serious health consequences. People with these infections do not always experience disease symptoms, but, if left untreated, some STIs can increase the risk of HIV infection, or can cause chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and/or severe pregnancy and newborn complications.

HIV and HPV infections acquired in 2018 were the costliest STIs in the new CDC analysis, as medical costs for these infections include lifetime treatment for people with HIV and treatment for HPV-related cancers. Other reportable STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, have substantial medical costs as well.

Of the estimated $16 billion in lifetime medical costs from STIs acquired in 2018:

  • Most ($13.7 billion) of all costs were attributed to sexually acquired HIV infections.
  • $755 million were attributed to HPV infections.
  • More than $1 billion were attributed to chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis combined.
    • About 60% of these combined costs from chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were among young people ages 15-24 yrs.
  • Nearly 75% of the $2.2 billion in non-HIV-related STI medical costs were among women.