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Sexually transmitted diseases form a huge threat to public health. Did you know there are 20 MILLION new cases in the United States every year? Read on to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make sure you are not one of them.

It's April! Spring is in the air, and the timing is perfect for STD Awareness Month. STD Awareness Month is there to inform as many people as possible about sexually transmitted diseases, the effect they can have on lives, and about their prevention.

What should that mean for you personally? STD Awareness Month is unique among awareness events, because sex is something that affects nearly everyone. So, here is a great chance to pull your head out of the sand and consider the possibility that you may be vulnerable to STDs yourself, and that you may even have one or more sexually transmitted diseases right now.

STDs: Facts And Statistics

Since you're here on SteadyHealth, you already have a few things going for you. You are sure to know at least a little bit about sexually transmitted diseases, and you also quite obviously care about your own health. Could you still have an STD? Maybe. Even people who are relatively knowledgeable can underestimate their risk of having an STD. You may force yourself into denial, even if you are quite aware that many sexually transmitted diseases are asymptomatic. STDs are scary, after all, and “thinking yourself out of one” can be very appealing.

Don't think you are immune to sexually transmitted diseases, because you are not. Men and women of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnic groups get STDs. Sexually transmitted diseases infect married people and people in committed relationships as well as singles. Straight and gay people get them. Lots of people catch STDs, in short — there are 20 million new STD cases in the United States each year.

Here is what else you should know about sexually transmitted diseases:

  • In the US, 50 percent of new sexually transmitted infections occur in young people between 15 and 24.

  • The 50+ crowd is not exempt from STDs — in the UK, cases of sexually transmitted diseases in this age group doubled over the last 10 years.

  • The number of new infections is spread among men and women around equally.

  • Sexually transmitted diseases cost the US around $16 billion per year.

  • Syphilis is on the rise again, and 63 percent of patients are gay or bisexual men.

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among young people under 25.

  • Undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases silently make 24,000 US women a year infertile.

  • A whopping 110 million sexually transmitted diseases are currently being managed in the US. Some of these are life-long, chronic diseases, while others can be cured.

Which STDs are most common?

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows which sexually transmitted diseases cause most new infections in the United States every year. This is the latest data, from 2008:

  1. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) — 14,100,000 new cases

  2. Chlamydia — 2,860,000 new cases

  3. Trichomoniasis — 1,090,000 new cases

  4. Gonorrhea — 820,000 new cases

  5. HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex type 2) — 776,000 new cases

  6. Syphilis — 55,400 new cases

  7. HIV — 41,400 new cases

  8. Hepatitis B — 19,000 new cases

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  • Photo courtesy of thestigmaproject on Flickr:

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