Reporting that the United States has a "severe" epidemic of sexually transmitted infections, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued two new studies of sexual behavior ... just in time for Valentine's Day.
In 2008, there were 20 million new infections, and a prevalence of 110 million people, according to CDC estimates. More than half of the new infections were contracted by people between the ages of 15 and 24, and the two most common STIs were chlamydia (2.9 million new infections) and the human papillomavirus, HPV (14.1 million new infections).
The CDC reports that the United States has the highest rate of STIs in the industrialized world, and the studies were conducted to calculate the economic cost of STIs in the country.
It's estimated that STIs cost the United States almost $16 billion in medical costs.
It's not just chlamydia and HPV that sexually active people need to be worrying about; researchers say syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B, HIV, and trichomoniasis are also running rampant, and drug resistant gonorrhea is slowly taking over the world.
In July 2012, Boise Weekly sat down with researchers and preventive health services personnel at the Central District Health Department in Boise to learn that the region's syphilis rate was of great concern.
"Right now, we're up 200 percent," said Sarah Correll, CDHD epidemiologist. "When you consider that each of the confirmed cases is typically linked to multiple partners, it grows exponentially. And, yes, if it continues at this rate, it looks like we could be up 400 percent from (2011)."
The majority of confirmed syphilis cases in CDHD's region identify Treasure Valley men, aged 25-45, as primary victims.
"And there's little discrimination among partners," said Lorraine Fortunati, preventive health services coordinator with the CDHD. "They have little or no knowledge of their partners' history."
The CDC recommends that all sexually active people get checked for infections every year, more if they're changing partners more frequently. They also reiterate that condoms will easily protect you from all of that good stuff, so we advise you proceed with caution this Valentine's Day.