The statistics for the incidence and prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) worldwide and in the United States are rather alarming because they show epidemic proportions.

What makes the stats even more shocking is the vast prevalence of these diseases in teens and young people.

A sexually transmitted disease (STD), is a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection that is usually transmitted through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

However, an STD can also spread through non-sexual ways, such as from an infected mother to her fetus during pregnancy, from breastfeeding, or when giving birth to her child. It can also be transmitted between drug users who share syringes or during blood donation from donor to recipient through infected blood.

STDs often show few or no symptoms, and the infected person is unaware that he is infected. This makes it unlikely that he will go in for testing or treatment. Such cases, where no symptoms appear, are referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Although all STDs can be treated, some cannot be completely cured. Such cases can cause complications that can be serious. Therefore, you are encouraged to undergo regular testing for STDs and follow preventive measures such as the use of protection during sexual activity.

Many a time, sexually transmitted diseases can be silent and the infected person may not exhibit any symptoms. In others, social stigma also prevents the patient from close monitoring by his or her doctor.

Many cases of STDs are treated in private clinics and go unreported. STD stats therefore may be somewhat inadequate.

A large number of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis cases also go undiagnosed due to silent symptoms. It is, therefore, fair to assume that revealed stats are lower than the actual size of the epidemic.

Irrespective of race and gender, across the world, statistics show that teens and young adults are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases than older people are. This is especially so for human papillomavirus, herpes simplex, and trichomoniasis.

This could be due to a lack of education about sexual health among the young and the impulsive urge “to go for it” without proper protection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common type of STD around the world with more than 600 million cases worldwide and 20 million in the U.S.

Worldwide STD Statistics

World Health Organization estimates that more than one million people contract STDs every day. That is about 350 million people around the globe are infected with sexually transmitted infections every year.

The STD rate is highest among the age group of 20 to 24 years followed by the 15 to 19 age group. To make matters worse, the majority of the young do not have access to standard STD clinics.

STD statistics facts:

  • More than 530 million people are infected with the virus that causes genital herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus 2). This disease cannot be cured and the virus stays in the body throughout life and the person goes on infecting others.
  • More than 290 million women worldwide have human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which causes genital warts, and one of the complications of which is cervical cancer.
  • The majority of STIs are silent and do not present any symptoms.
  • Some of these sexually transmitted infections increase the risk of HIV three-fold. HIV is a viral infection that is fatal.
  • The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, which causes gonorrhea has developed resistance to many previously effective drugs making it difficult to reduce the impact of these infections worldwide.

The incidence is higher in the low-income group countries with women being five times more vulnerable than men.

More than half the people will get a venereal disease at least once in their lifetime. In developing countries and more so in their rural areas, medical clinics and facilities are unavailable, making treatment most difficult to the extent of almost being impossible.

Add to it the reluctance on the part of the uneducated timid rural women to expose their sexual infection to the joint family to avoid an awkward situation. These diseases then go untreated making way for complications such as infertility and cancer.

STD Statistics for the United States

Among the developed countries, the U.S. has the highest incidence of venereal disease infections with more than 20 million new cases every year.

Half of these cases are young people between the ages of 15 to 24 years. By the age of 25 years, about half of sexually active young people will get STDs. It costs The American Health System about $16 billion dollars in direct medical costs to treat these people

CDC estimates that in a year there are 110 million sexually transmitted infections among men and women across the United States.

It is also estimated that more than half of the sexually active population will contract the human papillomavirus which causes genital warts. Many a time, this infection is silent with the infected person not knowing it. This leads to it being spread unknowingly. Cervical cancer in women is a strong complication of this infection.

Teenage girls and young colored women are most vulnerable because of poverty conditions, ignorance of these diseases or their prevention, or reluctance of their partner to use condoms. Herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are the most common STDs seen among these young people.


There is only one thing to learn from these STD statistics data and prevalence figures. Sexual health education at the age of puberty or prior to it must be mandatory in all educational institutions.

Causes, symptoms, and possible complications of STDs should be part of the syllabus in the later standards of secondary school. The need to take complete treatment and how you can prevent these diseases must be part of the curriculum.