Context: In the United States, young people aged 15-24 represent 25% of the sexually experienced population. However, the incidence and prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among this age-group are unknown.
Methods: Data from a variety of sources were used to estimate the incidence and prevalence of STDs among 15-24-year-olds in the United States in 2000. The quality and reliability of the estimates were categorized as good, fair or poor, depending on the quality of the data source.
Results: Approximately 18.9 million new cases of STD occurred in 2000, of which 9.1 million (48%) were among persons aged 15-24. Three STDs (human papillomavirus, trichomoniasis and chlamydia) accounted for 88% of all new cases of STD among 15-24-year-olds.
Conclusions: These estimates emphasize the toll that STDs have on American youth. More representative data are needed to help monitor efforts at lowering the burden of these infections.