Special Reports

CDC Finds Alarming Rise in STDs Among College-Age Youths


The CDC has recently conducted a survey and has found an alarming rise in the prevalence of STDs among college-age youths in the U.S.

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the reported rates for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are at an unprecedented high, and most of these infections are reported among youths aged 15-24.

The report states that in 2015, there are more than 1.5 million cases of Chlamydia and nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhea across the U.S., and at least half of all reported cases for both STDs have been reported by youths aged 15-14.

Of the chlamydia cases, 26% are reported by youths aged 15-19 and 39% are among those between 20-24. Of the gonorrhea cases, 18% are among those between 15-19, and 32% are reported by those between 20-24.

"We have reached a decisive moment for the nation," Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a press release. "STD rates are rising, and many of the country's systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services - or the human and economic burden will continue to grow."

Although it is known that young adults are often the hardest hit when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, the efforts to educate students about sexual health seem "scattershot," according to Inside Higher Education. Some colleges invest in teaching students about sexual health, but some do not.

Diane Straub, chief of the adolescent medicine division and professor of pediatric health at the University of South Florida, says that colleges and universities should not assume that their students have already been educated about sexual health before reaching college. Instead, higher education institutions must be proactive in both educating students about sexual health issues, and in preventing sexually-related problems to arise.

 "If we don't address this now, it's going to spiral out of control," Straub said.

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