By twelfth grade, 65% of high school students will have engaged in sexual intercourse, and one in five sexually active teens will have had four or more sexual partners. These numbers continue to rise after high school. Teenagers and young adults are a vulnerable population because they make decisions and act in ways that put them at greater risk for STIs.
Young people are more likely than any other age group to:
Estimating how many sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases occur among young people is not a simple or straightforward task. First, most STIs can be "silent," causing no noticeable symptoms. These asymptomatic infections can be diagnosed only through testing. Unfortunately, routine screening programs are not widespread, and social stigma and lack of public awareness concerning STIs often inhibits frank discussion between health care providers and patients about STI risk and the need for testing. Even from estimates, however, what is clear from the statistics about STIs in the U.S. is that young people bear a large portion of the STI burden. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
CDC offers information on reportable STI rates in the U.S. for persons 15-24 by state and offers a wealth of information on youth and sexual risk behaviors as well.