STI and STD Data

STD and STI are often used interchangeably. STI stands for sexually transmitted infection, while STD stands for sexually transmitted disease. An STD is an infection that has progressed to a disease. Both terms refer to infections transmitted person to person during sexual contact, and there is often a stigma associated with having an STD. It’s important to get tested for STI’s before it progresses to an STD.

STDs and STIs are on the rise across the United States. The CDC has reported that STDs have reached an all time high for the 6th consecutive year, with 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea & syphilis reported in 2019.

Did you know?

1 in 2 people will have an STI/STD in their lifetime
1 in 5 people are currently infected with an STI/STD

Who is getting STDs?

1 in 2 STI/STDs are acquired by people 15 to 24 years old

Where does Massachusetts stand?

STDs over the last 5 years have exploded across the nation and Massachusetts is no exception. Because of the delay in diagnosis or treatment due to COVID restrictions in 2020, 2021 and 2022, we’re likely to see an even greater increase in the number of cases. The Massachusetts data as of 2019 shows the following trends:

  • Chlamydia cases increased by 32% between 2015 and 2019

    - The 2019 Massachusetts state rate was 455.3 per 100,000

  • Gonorrhea cases increased by 99% between 2015 and 2019

    – The 2019 Massachusetts state rate was 103.2 per 100,000

    – This increase was reported primarily among men

  • Infectious Syphilis cases increased by 56% between 2015 and 2019

    – The 2019 Massachusetts state rate was 17.9 per 100,000

    – 2015 and 2019, approximately 30 and 40% of infectious syphilis cases were co-infected with HIV

So what’s the big deal?

STDs and STIs are generally acquired by sexual contact and most birth control methods don’t stop transmission. The organisms which cause STDs may be passed from person to person in blood, semen, vaginal or other bodily fluids. Sometimes these infections can be transmitted through nonsexual routes, such as an infected mother to her newborn. This is called a transverse infection.

People who are infected with STIs usually appear healthy and may have mild symptoms or none at all. As a result, they’re often unaware that they are infectious to others. Having an untreated STI can have lifelong consequences. The following is a statement from the World Health Organization regarding STIs:

“STIs can have serious consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself. STIs like herpes, gonorrhea and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition. Mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth weight and prematurity, sepsis, pneumonia, neonatal conjunctivitis and congenital deformities. HPV infection causes cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018 and over 311,000 cervical cancer deaths each year. Hepatitis B resulted in an estimated 820,000 deaths in 2019, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer). STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, are major causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women.”

How can I get tested?

If you’re sexually active, you should be tested regularly. You may have only had 1 partner, but there’s still a risk due to their sexual history. Since STDs/STIs don’t always have symptoms, so it’s important to get tested to be sure. In many cases, people don’t have any signs or symptoms. In fact, that’s why many experts prefer the term sexually transmitted infections (STIs), because you can have an infection without disease symptoms.

You can contact your pediatrician, primary care doctor, gynecologist or OB/GYN. Additionally, there are typically low or no-cost clinics in your community as well. It may be nerve wracking to get tested, but you need to know so you can get treatment asap and so you don’t risk infecting anyone else. At Clearway Clinic, we offer free testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea (two of the most common STIs) as these two can cause complications if left untreated, particularly in regards to pregnancy or surgical abortions. If you’re experiencing active symptoms, we recommend you contact your doctor for further testing as it may be something other than what we test for and we don’t want to delay your treatment or care.

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