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Happy Valentine's Day! Here are some depressing numbers about STDs


(Source: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released their latest estimates on STD prevalence in the United States.

And the numbers are pretty bleak:

Annual new infections: 19.7 million+

Age group most affected: 15 - 24 (accounting for 50% of all new infections)

Total infections: 110 million

Total cost of treating STDs: $16 billion

The most common STI is human papillomavirus infections, or HPV -- an infection so common that at least 50% of all sexually active men or women will get it at some point in their lives. The immune system naturally clears about 90 per cent of cases within two years but some infections stick around, potentially causing genital warts, cervical cancer or other cancers.

The other seven most common STIs are chlamydia, hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus type 2, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis and gonorrhea -- the last of which is becoming increasingly worrisome because the bacteria is showing signs of becoming drug resistant.

Just some information to keep in mind as you and that special someone -- or not-so-special someone -- celebrate the most romantic day of the year.

Jennifer Yang is the Toronto Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar


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