What Happens When STDS Are Left Undiagnosed & Untreated

African American teen couple collegeDo you know someone whose life has been affected by an STD (sexually transmitted disease)? Odds are that you do. For the third straight year, CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance Report reveals that chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis infections have increased. More than 2 million cases of these three diseases combined were reported in the United States during 2016, with the highest, chlamydia, at 1.6 million cases.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is also a concern, because it is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with almost all sexually active people acquiring HPV infection at some point in their lives. HPV frequently goes away on its own, but in some cases, it can lead to serious health effects, such as cervical or other cancer or genital warts. A vaccine is available to prevent HPV, and CDC recommends that youth 11 or 12 years old receive two doses of HPV vaccine, then receive a second dose 6 to 12 months after the first dose.

What you might not know is that adolescents ages 15 to 19 years and young adults ages 20 to 24 years have had increasing rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis during 2012 through 2016. These increases are even more concerning for youth of color, with young Blacks or African Americans, ages 15 to 24 years, being affected more than those of other races or ethnicities by all three of these STDs.

If left undiagnosed and untreated, STDs can…