Health Reports & Data

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) refer to more than 25 infectious organisms that are transmitted primarily through sexual activity. Although they are largely preventable, STDs remain a significant health problem in the United States. The cost of STDs to the U.S. health care system is estimated to be as much as $15.9 billion annually. Studies show that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who are STD-free. And the same behaviors that put an individual at risk for acquiring these STDs can increase the risk for getting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends all adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years should be screened for HIV. With early detection, the course of the progression to AIDS can be slowed considerably.

The vast majority of pediatric human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases are the result of mother-to-child transmission and, in many of these cases, the mother did not know she was HIV-positive. When the infection is detected early enough, doctors can greatly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to the infant. Additionally, the mother can make plans for her own health management. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends all women receive an HIV test at their first prenatal care visit.