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Young Men and Women Driving Sexually Transmitted Infection Rates in the US: CDC Report

Update Date: Feb 14, 2013 02:09 AM EST
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More than 20 million people in the U.S. get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every year, with medical costs for treatments costing around $16 billion to the U.S. economy, according to a latest study report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Though people aged between 15 and 24 account for just a quarter of the sexually experienced population in the country, they make up for more than half of all people infected with STIs. In total, there are about 110 million sexually transmitted infections in the U.S.

"STIs take a big health and economic toll on men and women in the United States, especially our youth," CDC epidemiologist Catherine Lindsey Satterwhite told NBC News. Lindsey is the lead author of the study.

Most of these infections can be treated, but some infections can cause serious harm if not detected early, CDC said.

The human papillomavirus is the most common cause of infection in sexually active people in the U.S., followed by other infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B, HIV and trichomoniasis. Although HPV infections go away on their own in about two years, sometimes they can cause serious health conditions like cervical cancers.

An estimated 12,000 cases of cervical cancers will be detected in 2013 and about 4,000 women will die due to the cancer, according to data from The National Cancer Institute.

According to CDC, most men and women in the U.S. will have an infection caused by HPV at least once during their lifetime. A vaccination given to boys and girls around the ages of 11 and 12 can be a good preventive measure against the infection.

Abstaining from sex, using condoms properly, reducing the number of sexual partners and getting vaccinated for certain STIs like HPV can reduce the occurrence of these infections, CDC said.

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