Increasing STI Rates Over the Years: A Comprehensive Statistical Analysis

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STI Rates Over the Years

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) constitute a global public health concern, affecting millions annually. 

The introductory glimpse into STI prevalence explores alarming statistics and trends. 

WHO estimates revealed that worldwide over 1 million STIs are acquired daily. 

Moreover, there are disparities in STI rates based on ethnicity, age, and geographical regions.

In this report, uncover crucial data related to STI rates, ranging from global estimates by the World Health Organization to specific STI types and prevalence rates. 

From examining key statistics to exploring factors influencing disparities, this report provides an insightful exploration of the STI rates.

Key Statistics Related to STI/STD Rates
Here are some important statistics that will highlight the facts about STD rates:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 1 million STIs are acquired every day globally
  • 1 in every 5 people in the US have an STI
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral STI globally
  • In 2019, there were approximately 374 million new cases of four curable STIs (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Trichomoniasis)
  • The risk of STIs is higher among sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • In 2020, young people (15-24 years old) accounted for more than half of all new STI cases globally
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States alone, there were over 2.5 million reported cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis in 2021

Worldwide STI prevalence

Globally, about 1 in 25 individuals grapple with at least one Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), underscoring the pervasive nature of these conditions. 

Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization’s latest report, some face the added complexity of experiencing multiple infections simultaneously. 

The WHO stated these findings are a “wake-up call” for the international community.

Addressing this multifaceted challenge requires comprehensive strategies. 

It should include prevention, education, and accessible healthcare to reduce the prevalence and impact of STIs on a global scale.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are often used interchangeably. Earlier, it was referred to as STD, but now it’s known as STI. 

This change comes because of the less negative connotations attached to the term infection than disease.

Prevalence of different STIs in 2020

In the year 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a comprehensive estimation revealing a staggering 374 million new infections globally.

It included four prominent Sexually Transmitted Infections. 

The breakdown of these infections included the following:

  • 129 million cases of Chlamydia
  • 82 million cases of Gonorrhea
  • 7.1 million cases of Syphilis
  • 156 million cases of Trichomoniasis

STI rates in different countries

The STI rates differ from one country to another. 

The differences can be due to disparities in population density, education, healthcare, and awareness of STIs among the general population.

Countries with the highest STI rates include South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Bermuda, and Brazil.

Whereas countries with the lowest STI rates include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Increased number of new cases of STIs

The WHO compiled estimates for new cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, and Syphilis among adults in 1995, 1999, 2005, and 2008, employing diverse methodologies. 

These estimates contribute crucial insights into the changing epidemiological landscape of STIs over time.

STI typeEstimated number of new cases in 1995 (in millions)Estimated number of new cases in 1999 (in millions)Estimated number of new cases in 2005 (in millions)Estimated number of new cases in 2008 (in millions)

STI/STD increase rates (2015 to 2019)

In the year 2019, the U.S. health departments recorded concerning trends in Sexually Transmitted Infections. 

They compared the numbers from 2015 to 2019 and reported the following increase in rates:

  • Chlamydia cases surged to 1.8 million, marking an alarming 20 percent increase since 2015
  • Gonorrhea cases experienced a more significant uptick, surpassing 616,392, indicating a worrisome rise of over 50 percent since 2015
  • The reported cases of Syphilis in all stages reached 129,813, reflecting a troubling surge of more than 70 percent over the same period

STD rates difference based on ethnicity and sex

In 2018, the Sexually Transmitted Disease rates (per 100,000) for the 13-24 age group between men and women of different ethnicities were as follows:


Chlamydia, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis, is a common and curable sexually transmitted infection. 

Often asymptomatic, Chlamydia can lead to serious health complications if untreated, emphasizing the importance of regular screenings and timely treatment.


Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria Gonorrhoeae bacterium.

It is the second most commonly reported STI in the United States.


Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum, which has endured as a global health concern. 

The data reveals significant disparities in STI rates among different racial and ethnic groups. 

Black individuals, particularly males, face substantially higher rates compared to other groups. 

These findings underscore the importance of targeted interventions and healthcare initiatives to address and reduce these disparities in STI prevalence.

STI prevalence based on age

In the year 2020, an alarming 53% of new Sexually Transmitted Infections were reported among individuals aged 15-24 years.

This statistic underscores the vulnerability of this age group to STIs, necessitating urgent and targeted public health interventions.

Factors such as evolving sexual behaviors, limited access to comprehensive sex education, and barriers to healthcare contribute to the elevated STI rates among young people. 

Addressing this demographic’s specific needs through educational programs, accessible healthcare services, and awareness campaigns is paramount.

Incidence of various STIs

There are various Sexually Transmitted Diseases. While some of them are quite common, some are rare. 

Here are the prevalence rates of different STIs:


According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), as of 2022, a concerning 39 million individuals were living with HIV globally.

Among them, 37.5 million were adults aged 15 or older, and an additional 1.5 million comprising children aged 0–14. 

These statistics highlight the persistent impact of HIV/AIDS across age groups. 

Untreated HIV can turn into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can severely damage your immune system. Thus, don’t delay the HIV treatment.


In 2020, the World Health Organization reported 82.4 million new cases of Gonorrhea among individuals aged 15-49 globally. 

The incident rate was 19 per 1000 women and 23 per 1000 men. 

The highest numbers were observed in the WHO African Region and the Western Pacific Region. 


In 2020, approximately 128.5 million new Chlamydia trachomatis infections were reported globally among adults aged 15 to 49. 

The prevalence was 4.0% for women and 2.5% for men in this age group. 

Notably, chlamydial infection is more prevalent among young individuals. 

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In the United States in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received reports of an exceptionally low number of seven cases across six states. 

This notably low incidence reflects a rare occurrence and suggests that the particular condition or disease under consideration was infrequently observed or reported during that year. 


According to the WHO, an estimated 6.3 million cases of Syphilis had occurred in the year 2016.

In 2016, rates of primary and secondary Syphilis were higher among men (15.6 cases per 100,000 males) than women (1.9 cases per 100,000 females).


Globally in 2020, an estimated 156 million new cases of Trichomonas vaginalis infection were reported among individuals aged 15-49.

73.7 million in females and 82.6 million in males cases were reported. 

Notably, approximately one-third of these new infections occurred in the WHO African Region, underscoring a significant burden. 

Following closely, the Region of the Americas also saw a notable prevalence.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV infections are very common.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly everyone gets HPV at some point in their lives. 

But the good part is that most HPV infections (approximately 9 out of 10) go away by themselves within 2 years.

Hepatitis B

In 2016, the World Health Organization reported a staggering 257 million individuals globally living with chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection. 

Tragically, this pervasive infection led to 800,000 deaths from Cirrhosis or Hepatocellular carcinoma caused by HBV. 

These alarming statistics underscore the severe health consequences and the urgent need for comprehensive strategies in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. 


Recent estimates reveal that approximately half a billion individuals worldwide are grappling with Genital Herpes.

Furthermore, several billion people are affected by Oral Herpes infections, underscoring the widespread nature of Herpes viruses. 

These figures highlight the need for increased awareness, preventive measures, and accessible healthcare to address the prevalence of both genital and oral Herpes infections. 


The comprehensive statistical analysis of Sexually Transmitted Infections underscores the global magnitude of this public health challenge. 

With alarming figures revealing 1 in 25 individuals affected worldwide, the report delves into specific STI types, regional variations, and demographic disparities. 

The data highlights a concerning surge in new cases over the years, especially among young populations, necessitating urgent interventions. 

The disparities based on ethnicity and gender underscore the importance of targeted healthcare initiatives. 

The prevalence of other STIs, such as HIV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Hepatitis B, further emphasizes the need for a multifaceted approach.

It should involve prevention, education, and accessible healthcare on a global scale.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are STIs very common?

Yes, Sexually Transmitted Infections are very common, affecting approximately 1 in every 25 individuals globally. The prevalence is underscored by alarming statistics, including over 1 million daily STIs worldwide. The widespread nature of STIs necessitates urgent and comprehensive public health strategies for prevention, education, and accessible healthcare.

Which STI is the most common?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection globally. With millions of cases reported annually, it is widespread. HPV infections can lead to various health issues, including genital warts and an increased risk of certain cancers. Vaccination and regular screenings are crucial for prevention and early detection.

Who is at the highest risk for STI?

Sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) face a higher risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Additionally, young people aged 15-24 account for over half of all new STI cases globally, emphasizing their vulnerability.

Are HIV and AIDS the same?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are related but distinct. HIV is the virus that can lead to AIDS if left untreated. AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection, characterized by severe damage to the immune system.

Is STD a lifetime disease?

Many Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are curable with appropriate treatment, such as antibiotics. However, some viral infections, like HIV and Herpes, are lifelong but can be managed with medications. Early detection, treatment, and preventive measures can significantly impact the course and management of STDs.

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