STDs are a regular part of our lives. The severity of a sexually transmitted disease can range from mild discomfort that requires a trip to the doctor all the way to a life-threatening condition. Since there’s always a danger of encountering the latter, it’s important to stay informed. The data below should give you something of a broader, better picture when it comes to the danger, and the ubiquity, behind STDs.
Key STD Statistics & Facts to Know in 2020
- Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, syphilis, and gonorrhea are the four most common STDs.
- Half of all sexually active people will get an STD by the time they reach 25.
- Around 80% of new HIV diagnoses in the 13–24 age group occur in men.
- Herpes and syphilis seriously increase your HIV infection risk.
- According to the STD statistics by age, even individuals older than 65 get STDs.
- West Virginia has the lowest STD rates, while Alaska has the highest.
- Over 290 million women across the globe have HPV.
- Around 9.7% of all students have chlamydia.
- Urban areas report the highest STD rates.
- Globally, over 988,000 women were infected with syphilis in 2016, leading to over 200,000 stillbirths.
General STD and STI Statistics and Facts
1. Half of all sexually active people will get an STD by the time they reach 25.
According to the data gathered by the American Sexual Health Association, around 50% of sexually active people will most likely get a sexually transmitted infection before they reach 25 years. Half of all new HIV infections occur in this age range, as do half of all new STD cases.
2. The number of STDs hit a record high in 2018.
The STD statistics from 2018, according to a report from the CDC, point toward a record high rate of STDs. According to the CDC, the most common cause is the decreased condom use among young people, as well as cuts in STD programs.
3. There is only one highly effective antibiotic against gonorrhea left.
(CDC – NCHHSTP)
One of the core problems with gonorrhea is its mounting antibiotic resistance in the US and abroad. It’s one of the more problematic sexually transmitted diseases simply because ceftriaxone is essentially the only treatment that still effectively fights it.
4. Keep in mind that most STDs don’t have any (noticeable) symptoms.
(CDC – Surveillance 2017)
STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. Even if you don’t have (or see) any symptoms, this doesn’t mean you’re clean after having unprotected sex. The CDC gonorrhea facts and stats, along with their STD registry, point toward the fact that most STDs don’t have noticeable symptoms.
5. Men who have sex with men make up around 70% of primary and secondary syphilis cases (which are the most infectious).
(CDC – NCHHSTP)
There is a disproportionate number of primary and secondary syphilis cases among homosexual or bisexual men—to generalize, men who have sex with men. In sum, this group represents around 20,000 of the reported cases of syphilis within the country.
6. There was a total of 30,644 cases of syphilis in 2017.
(CDC – National Overview)
While many believe that syphilis is an old, dying disease, unfortunately, the STD statistics claim otherwise. In fact, in 2017, there were 30,644 cases of this STD, still keeping it high on the list of common sexual diseases in the US.
7. Around 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the US.
The American Sexual Health Association reports that the CDC’s data shows more than one million cases of HIV in the US. The HIV statistics are continually grim, with 1 in 7 people not even being aware of the fact that they’re suffering from HIV.
8. STDs and STIs are present at all ages, with cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported even for people older than 65.
(Harvard Medical School)
Although most of the 2 million reported cases of these STDs in 2016 occurred among younger age groups, the stats still counted a surprising number of adults past middle age. So take note that even seniors can get an STD.
9. Alaska has the highest STD rate in the US.
The data on STD rates by state shows that Alaska has the highest STD rate, with 1,394 infections per 100,000 people. Next, Mississippi is in second place, with 1,283 infections per 100,000 people, and Louisiana is third at 1,261.
10. Gonorrhea incidence rates increased by 5% between 2017 and 2018.
Gonorrhea is on the rise, with a 5% increase in just one year. As far as demographics are concerned, the CDC has STD statistics showing the highest increase, at 15%, among teens aged 15 to 19, as well as a 12.8% increase in young adults aged 20 to 24.
11. Women who have chlamydia are at a higher risk of getting HIV.
It’s difficult to classify the different types of STDs. However, it helps to understand them based on whether they’re caused by a virus or bacteria. Chlamydia, for example, is a bacterial infection, while HIV is a virus.
The statistics on STD transmission rates are clear, showing that this bacterial infection can, in fact, lead to a higher risk for HIV infections. Generally, the reason for this is because chlamydia produces sores and lesions around the body, and HIV can be transmitted via contact with open sores, etc.
12. West Virginia has the lowest STD rates.
While Alaska has the unhappy prize of being number one in STD rates in the US, further STD statistics by state show that West Virginia has the lowest, with just 365 reported infections per 100,000 people. Vermont is second and New Hampshire third, at 393 and 438, respectively.
13. There were 82,938 cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia among people older than 45 in 2015.
(American Association of Retired Persons)
It’s a common but untrue claim that old people do not contract STIs and STDs. In fact, according to the CDC’s STD stats from 2015, this is a 20% increase in just a year for this age group. It should be noted that at the time this was the highest number ever recorded among those 45 and older.
14. Syphilis infection rates increased by 14.9% between 2017 and 2018.
(CDC – National Overview)
Data gathered by the CDC on STD rates shows that syphilis is on the rise, with an almost 15% increase in just one year. This is an even greater incidence increase than the previous year, which was 10.5%. The CDC reports that this rise has been seen in both men and women, and among all racial and ethnic groups.
15. The AIDS statistics show that certain STDs can increase the risk of acquiring HIV substantially.
We already know that women with chlamydia already have a greater risk, but some STDs increase this risk for all demographics. Specifically, herpes and syphilis, among other STDs, can increase the risk of you acquiring HIV by almost 300%.
16. Chlamydia is the most widely reported STD in the United States.
All the relevant STD stats by state show that chlamydia is actually the most common STD in the US. In fact, the number of cases doubled between the years 2000 and 2016. This STD has a greater prevalence among teenagers and young adults, and it’s more commonly reported among women than it is among men.
College Age and Teenage STD Statistics
17. Around 26% of all HIV infection diagnoses occur among young people aged 13–24.
(CDC – Vital Signs)
We’ve already noted that more than 50% of all STDs are contracted by young people. However, we also must mention that this same demographic represents more than a quarter of all new HIV infections.
18. Between 2013 and 2017, gonorrhea rates in males aged 15 to 24 increased by 51.6%.
The STD statistics from 2017 published by the CDC point toward an increase in gonorrhea incidences (with a 67% overall increase). However, the largest increase can be seen in males, aged 15–24. This represents an increase of 222,604 new cases in less than four years.
19. Around 10 million new cases of STDs are carried by individuals between 15 and 24 years of age.
(CDC – Adolescents and STDs)
The core teen STD statistics found within the CDC’s STD guidelines show that young people are the most susceptible to STDs. Of around 20 million new cases of STDs every year, half of these infections are present in people between the ages of 15 and 24.
20. One third of students from developing and third-world countries aren’t familiar with any other STDs except AIDS.
The data and STD statistics on college students coming from third-world countries show rather tragic results. While 99% of all students know about the existence of HIV, only two thirds of the students who took part in this study knew about other STDs.
21. Around 80% of new HIV diagnoses in the 13–24 age group occur in men.
(CDC – College Health)
One quarter of all new HIV infections strike individuals between the ages of 13 and 24. Of this number, males cover 80% of infections. These teen and college STD statistics further show that half of all STD infections happen among individuals that fall into the 13–24-year demographic.
22. Chlamydia’s prevalence among US students is at 9.7%.
Research shows that one in 10 students has chlamydia. Furthermore, younger students, teens under the age of 20, had a higher chance of having chlamydia, according to the college STD stats and data.
23. Younger female students have a 92% higher chance of being infected by chlamydia compared to older female students.
STD infection rates show a very high disparity in infections between younger and older female students. While generally, chlamydia infection rates differ between generations, the difference in rates between younger and older female students is significant.
STD Statistics Worldwide
24. There are more than 127 million new cases of chlamydia in the world every year, and over 500 million people are suffering from herpes.
Chlamydia, the most widespread of all bacterial STDs, makes up more than 127 million new diagnoses in the world. Furthermore, another 500 million people total suffer from herpes, according to the sexually transmitted disease statistics. Herpes is one of the STIs that currently has no cure.
25. STD rates are the highest in urban areas.
(Sexual Health Company)
According to the data gathered by the Sexual Health Company, it seems that STD rates are the highest in urban areas. These locations have the greatest distribution of the groups that have the highest risk of contracting venereal disease. Namely, the STD statistics from 2015 gathered to compare STD rates show that more populous areas have the highest STD levels.
26. Over 290 million women across the globe have HPV.
The human papillomavirus infection, better known as HPV, is transmitted between people through skin contact. Of the 100 varieties of HPV, 40 are passed through sexual contact.
The global STD statistics and research show that more than 290 million women all throughout the world are infected. In fact, over 80% of women will contract HPV at one point in their lifetime.
27. More than one million STIs are transmitted every day on a global level.
STDs and STIs are a part of daily life for many people. The current data gathered by the CDC on sexually transmitted diseases shows that these are at an all-time high, with just 2.4 million new cases reported in the last year. In fact, there are over one million STD infections that happen every single day.
28. Herpes type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of getting HIV.
There needs to be a greater focus on STD prevention programs. This is especially true when you take into consideration the fact that herpes type 2 or syphilis, illnesses that are manageable in varying degrees, can lead to increasing the risk you have of contracting HIV.
29. In 2016, 988,000 pregnant women have been infected with syphilis, which led to around 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths.
Evaluating STDs, the fact sheet published by the WHO—as well as basically any other important institution doing work on the subject—shows the grim reality of STDs. Namely, in 2016, almost one million pregnant women were infected with syphilis, which had a massive impact on infant mortality.
30. Four STDs make up the majority of all infections: gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and syphilis, according to the STI and STD facts.
While there are many STIs and STDs around, know that the brunt of all infections come from gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and syphilis. In fact, there are over 376 million people infected by these on an annual level.
1. Is herpes curable?
Genital herpes falls into the group of incurable STDs. However, you can find medication and treatment that reduces your specific STD symptoms, while also potentially minimizing the number of outbreaks and lowering the chance of you spreading this disease to other people.
2. Is gonorrhea treatable?
Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs. It’s transmitted through anal, vaginal, or oral sex, and consequently it causes infections in the rectum, genitalia, or throat. However, it can also be transmitted to babies if a pregnant woman is suffering from this disease.
Gonorrhea is very treatable, as long as you stick to your prescribed treatment, keep an eye on your vitamin intake, and in general, treat it like you would any other sickness.
3. Is gonorrhea curable?
Gonorrhea is curable, but there is one important caveat that needs to be made. Namely, gonorrhea is becoming more and more drug-resistant, and finding the right antibiotic might become an issue.
Also, note that any permanent damage done by gonorrhea is just that—permanent.
4. Is HPV permanent?
Most types of HPV go away by themselves after some time without needing any further treatment. However, since HPV doesn’t always show symptoms, you may have it without even knowing. Regular test screenings are advised.
Now, the relevant STD symptoms men and women share are things like genital warts and plantar, flat, and common warts. Note that warts may show up weeks, months, sometimes even years after contracting HPV, according to most STD stats.
5. What is the difference between primary and secondary syphilis?
There are several stages of syphilis: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Primary syphilis manifests itself as sores around the infection site. The sores are painless, round, and firm. Secondary starts with a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and is usually accompanied by a fever, according to the stats on STD stages.
Latent stage syphilis shows no symptoms. And finally, the tertiary phase is the most serious, affecting the brain, your heart, and many other organs.
Hopefully, the data we’ve covered above has been useful and enlightening. STDs are no joke, and learning as much as we can about them, staying educated, is a vital part of staying safe. The sad fact is that the STD statistics are far from cheerful.
List of Sources:
- American Sexual Health Association
- American Association of Retired Persons
- CDC – Adolescents and STDs Fact Sheet
- CDC – College Health and Safety
- CDC – National Overview
- CDC – Vital Signs
- CDC – National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
- CDC – Surveillance 2017
- Harvard Medical School
- NCBI – Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS
- Sexual Health Company – STD Factsheet
- The Hill
- The STD Journal
- The World Health Organization