In recent decades, the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has reached unprecedented levels. Many health websites and sex education advocates talk about STDs as if they’re no big deal, just as normal as getting a pimple or a headache. But not too far back, STDs were pretty uncommon. In the ’90s, there was a significant effort to teach the youth about the risks that come with having more than one sexual partner. Strangely, that kind of talk isn’t as loud these days, even though STDs are way more common in the United States than they ever were.

What Are the Facts?

Recently, the rates of STDs have shot up, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Take chlamydia, for example. Back in 1983, there wasn’t a single documented case. But by 1984, the CDC had noted 7,594 cases nationwide. Fast forward 32 years of prevention efforts, and the reported cases of chlamydia exploded to a jaw-dropping 1,526,658 in 2015. That’s an increase of 20,103% from just three decades earlier.


Between the years 2000 and 2016, the rates of syphilis have skyrocketed, quadrupling in that timeframe. Even more distressing is the resurgence of congenital syphilis – that is, syphilis passed on from a mother to her baby. This condition was once nearly wiped out in the US, but it spiked by almost 28% in just one year. 


But the issue doesn’t stop at syphilis. Other STDs are making a comeback, too. Gonorrhea rates, after a brief decline, surged by 46% since 2010. It’s not sparing any demographic, either. 


In the United States, around 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pop up every year, and the reported numbers keep climbing, hitting record highs in 2018. 


However, when it comes to grasping the extent of the issue in the U.S., awareness isn’t as high. A recent poll sheds light on what the public knows and thinks about STIs. Only about a third of adults (36%) are aware that STIs have become more common in the past ten years. 

Does That Mean STDs/STIs are normal?

Are STDs normal? The answer to the question probably depends on how you define “normal.” Only a few years ago, STDs were not normal, as the statistics indicate. The rapidity with which sexually transmitted diseases have spiked causes many people to point to the clear risks associated with hookup culture. STDs have risen in correlation with a notable drop in marriage rates and an increase in “sexual freedom.”


In the era of the sexual revolution, casual sex outside of marriage is often hailed as a symbol of liberation. Deviating from the principle of monogamous marriage can lead to both physical and emotional repercussions, with STDs being just one facet of those consequences. Many STDs and STIs are not curable. This is a high price to pay for a moment of pleasure.


But there is always grace, healing, and hope to be found, no matter what your past holds.

Contact Choices to Learn More

At Choices Pregnancy Centers, we offer low-cost STD testing, education, and support for relationships and sexual health. We have caring, non-judgmental advocates and medical professionals who are here to help. Contact Choices today or visit our website to learn how we can help you avoid contracting an STD or STI.