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America's Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014

Sexually Transmitted Disease Treatment

Young adults ages 18–24 acquire nearly half of all new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or syphilis.57 STDs affect males and females from all social strata, but there are racial and ethnic disparities.58 Women with untreated STDs may experience significant long-term health consequences, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies, and cancer of the reproductive tract. Infants infected during gestation or birth may also suffer serious health consequences.59

Indicator Health5: Percentage of young adults ages 18–24 who received treatment for sexually transmitted diseases in the past year by gender, 2002 and 2006–2010
Percentage of young adults ages 18–24 who received treatment for sexually transmitted diseases in the past year by gender, 2002 and 2006–2010

NOTE: Young adults were identified as receiving treatment if they answered "yes" to the following question: "In the last 12 months, have you been treated or received medication from a doctor or other medical care provider for a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or syphilis?"

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Survey of Family Growth.

  • In 2006–2010, among young adults ages 18–24, 4 percent of males and 7 percent of females received treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or syphilis. There was no change between 2002 and 2006–2010 in the percentage of either young adult males or females receiving treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • In 2006–2010, among young adults, the percentage of females who received treatment for sexually transmitted diseases was higher than the percentage of males.
  • In 2006–2010, among young adults, a higher percentage of Black, non-Hispanic females (13 percent) than White, non-Hispanic (5 percent) and Hispanic (4 percent) females reported treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. A similar pattern was also observed among males.
  • In 2006–2010, a higher percentage of both young adult females and males with public health insurance coverage reported treatment for sexually transmitted diseases than young adult females and males with only private health insurance coverage.

table icon YAHEALTH5 HTML Table

57 Weinstock, H., Berman, S., and Cates, W., Jr. (2004). Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36(1), 6–10.

58 Hogben, M., and Leichliter, J.S. (2008). Social determinants and sexually transmitted disease disparities. Sexually Transmitted Disease, 35(12 suppl), S13–8.

59 Centers for Disease Control, National Prevention Information Network. (2013). STDs today. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/std/std.asp.