Date Published: May 26, 2009
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Partial Text: Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimated that in 1999 there were 340 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis—in men and women aged 15–49 years . Although in Western countries curable STDs may not seem a major threat to public health, these diseases disproportionately affect the poor, young people, and ethnic minorities, and can cause acute illness, disability and death, pre-term or low birth-weight babies, congenital birth defects, female infertility, and increased HIV transmission. High-income countries are by no means exempt from the burden of STDs: there are 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, at an estimated cost of US$15.9 billion annually to the US health care system .