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A warning just for Valentine's Day: New CDC studies found that the US have a severe, ongoing STI epidemic.
Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued two new studies of sexually transmitted behavior just in time for Valentine's Day. And, let's just say... the results ain't pretty.
According to CDC estimates, there were 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the US in 2008, at which point there were an estimated 90 million ongoing infections.
More than half of the new 2008 infections were contracted by people between the ages of 15 and 24. The two most common STIs were chlamydia (2.9 million new infections) and the human papillomavirus, or HPV (14.1 million new infections).
The US 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. STIs are preventable, CDC epidemiologist Catherine Lindsey Satterwhite emphasized to NBC News. "We know that preventing STIs could save the nation billion of dollars each year."
Satterwhite, who led one of the studies, broke down the numbers for CNN:
"Because some STIs – especially HIV - require lifelong treatment and care, they are by far the costliest," according to the analysis. In addition, HPV is particularly costly due to the expense of treating HPV-related cancers. However, the annual cost of curable STIs is also significant ($742 million). Among these, chlamydia is most common and therefore the most costly."
But it's not just chlamydia and HPV that sexually active people need to worry about — syphilis, herpes, hepatitis C, HIV, and trichomoniasis are also running rampant, and drug resistant form of gonorrhea is slowly spreading around the world.
The CDC recommends that all sexually active people get checked for infections every year, and more frequently if they change partners more often.
We advise you proceed with caution this Valentine's Day.