How Common Are Sexually Transmitted Infections?

At least 50 percent of Americans who engage insexual activity will contract HPV – a potentially serious sexually transmitted disease (STD) - during their lifetime.

At least 50 percent of Americans who engage insexual activity will contract HPV – a potentially serious sexually transmitted disease (STD) – during their lifetime.

Sexually transmitted infections or diseases are not just a problem among promiscuous people, warns the United States Centers for Disease Control. At least 50 percent of Americans who engage in intimate relations with another person will contract HPV – a potentially serious STD – during their lifetime. By the age of 25, at least 50 percent of sexually active people will have contracted some type of disease related to their intimate activities.

Getting an annual physical does not mean you are being tested for STDs; this even applies to women who get regular Pap smears. About 66 percent of primary care physicians do not perform adequate STD testing especially if the patient does not mention being sexually active. This figure is sobering to public health officials because the United States has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections in the world. Also, virtually all cases of HPV could be prevented if more people took advantage of a simple vaccination especially during their pre-teen years.

Many STDs are curable or even manageable thanks to modern medicine, but it is important to get a proper diagnosis sooner rather than later. Genital herpes and HIV are usually considered incurable diseases, but both can be well-managed with medication and proper medical care. Also, even people with HIV can have relatively safe and healthy intimate lives. But since most STDs including HIV may not reveal itself through obvious symptoms, getting comprehensive tests at least once a year is vital. Couples of all gender orientations can opt to get tested together for extra reassurance, especially if they are in a fairly new relationship.