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Teen STD Statistics

STD Statistics May Surprise You


Updated March 23, 2009

Parents don't often think of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as a pediatric problem, but STD statistics prove that it's about time they should.

If you review the latest STD statistics, you will see that STDs are a fairly common among teens -- why many experts still consider STDs to be a 'hidden epidemic' in our communities.

Most surprising to some parents will be the high number of STD cases in preteens.

Chlamydia Statistics

Unfortunately, chlamydia rates continue to increase each year, with older teen girls having the highest rates of Chlamydia trachomatis infections.

The CDC chlamydia statistics for 2007:

  • 1,108,374 total cases
  • 13,629 cases in children 10 to 14 years old
  • 379,418 cases in teens 15 to 19 years old
  • 402,595 cases in young adults 20 to 24 years old

Gonorrhea Statistics

Like chlamydia, gonorrhea rates have been increasing for teens.

The CDC gonorrhea statistics for 2007:

  • 355,991 total cases
  • 3,958 cases in children 10 to 14 years old
  • 98,579 cases in teens 15 to 19 years old
  • 111,788 cases in young adults 20 to 24 years old

Syphilis Statistics

Syphilis rates have been rising, too. Although rates are highest in young adult women aged 20 to 24 years old, there are a significant number of cases in teens, which is likely a very big surprise to most parents and even many pediatricians.

The CDC syphilis statistics for 2007:

  • 11,466 cases of primary and secondary syphilis
  • 13 cases in children 10 to 14 years old
  • 664 cases in teens 15 to 19 years old
  • 1,818 cases in young adults 20 to 24 years old

What You Need To Know

STDs are clearly a pediatric problem.

Although a controversial issue, when you consider that the CDC reports that 48% of high school students report that they have had sex, sex and STDs are issues that all parents should discuss with their kids.

  • Many STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be cured with antibiotics, but teens, parents, and pediatricians need to be aware first that a teen's symptoms can be caused by an STD before considering STD testing and treatment.

  • Health consequences of untreated STDs, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), can be severe and include infertility.

  • Other STDs, like HIV, can be deadly.

  • Sexually active girls should see a gynecologist, who will likely routinely screen your teen for STDs, even if she doesn't have any symptoms of an STD.

  • If a child has had one STD, it means they have put themselves at risk for all of them.

Find a Gynecologist Near You


CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2007. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 2008; 57(SS-4):1–131.

CDC. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2007.

Institute of Medicine Summary Report. The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1997.

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