US Report Shows Increase in Sexually-Transmitted Infections

By Adelaide Darling

WASHINGTON D.C., February 23, 2013 (CNA) -- New governmental reports on sexual behavior in America show significant rises in both sexually-transmitted infections and use of emergency contraception in recent years.

Government estimates “show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year,” said that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a new fact sheet released this month.

The report was one of two recent studies by the organization surveying the behavior of sexually active individuals in the U.S.

Based on surveys and public disease reports, the group estimated “that there are more than 19.7 million new STIs in the United States each year.”

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Young people “shoulder a substantial burden of these infections,” it continued, estimating that “half of all new STIs in the country occur among young men and women.”

The number of new infections each year “is roughly equal among young women and young men,” it added.

The second study noted that about one in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 44 has used “emergency contraception.” This marks more than a 250 percent increase in the use of such drugs in the last decade and more than a 1000 percent increase since 1995.

So-called emergency contraceptives were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for use in the United States. These drugs – taken after sexual intercourse – can have a contraceptive effect by preventing ovulation or an abortive effect by preventing an already-conceived human embryo from implanting on the uterus wall.

Nearly 60 percent of women who had used emergency contraception reported doing so only once, while 17 percent reported using it “three or more times.” 

Nearly equal percentages of women reported using emergency contraception “because of fear of method failure and because of unprotected sex.”

Use was most prevalent among young women aged 20-24, with about one in four reporting use of such drugs.

This discrepancy was expected for several reasons, the Centers for Disease Control said.

The method was not approved during the “early reproductive years” of older women, and younger women are less likely to be married. In addition, “the use of sterilization as a contraceptive method increases with age, consequently decreasing the potential demand for emergency contraception.”

In its report on sexually-transmitted infections, the governmental organization promoted “correctly using condoms” as a mode of infection reduction alongside abstinence and “reducing the number of sexual partners.”

“The high incidence and overall prevalence of STIs in the general population suggests that many Americans are at substantial risk of exposure to STIs, underscoring the need for STI prevention,” the group said.

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