Objectives: This study estimated the trends in mortality related to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their sequelae in US women from 1973 through 1992.
Methods: The total number of deaths was obtained from US national mortality data and from AIDS surveillance data, and current literature was reviewed to estimate proportions of diseases attributable to sexual transmission.
Results: From 1973 through 1984, total STD-related deaths decreased 24%. However, from 1985 through 1992, STD-related deaths increased by 31%, primarily because of increasing numbers of deaths from sexually transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The most important changes during the 20-year period were the emergence of and continued increase in the number of deaths related to hetero-sexually transmitted HIV.
Conclusions: The leading causes of STD-related mortality in women, viral STDs and their sequelae, are generally not recognized as being sexually transmitted. Increases in STD-related mortality are primarily due to sexually transmitted HIV, which will soon surpass cervical cancer as the leading cause.