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We are pleased to bring you the eighth edition of Fast Facts. This is a brief report on
local data that we believe you will find useful in both understanding and improving the
health of our community. Our goal is to keep it brief and instructive and to provide
opportunities for all persons to positively impact the issue.  


Our topic this time is Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STIs. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, board members and others in the community.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)



April is Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month. Many cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis continue to go undiagnosed and unreported, and data on several additional STIs - such as human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and trichomoniasis - are not routinely reported to CDC. As a result, the annual data captures only a fraction of the true burden of STIs in America. However, it will provide an important insight into the scope and trends of this hidden epidemic. Here are a few key facts:

  • The CDC estimates there are 20 million new STIs that occur each year.
  • The cost of treating STIs contracted in just one year: $16 billion
  • Half of all new sexually transmitted infections each year are among youth.

Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the United States. The CDC estimates that 2.86 million infections occur annually. A large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia do not have symptoms and do not seek testing. However it is important to note that even people without symptoms can transmit the infection unintentionally to others. Chlamydia is most common among young people. It is estimated that 1 in 15 sexually active females aged 14-19 years has chlamydia.


However, a recent study revealed that rates of sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have doubled for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s in the past decade. While we do not know the exact explanation for these findings, experts attribute this increase to the fact that people are making midlife changes and going back into dating and are not knowledgeable about STIs.


Local Data











- 4.7%

Allen County Rate/ 100,000 pop.



- 28.5

State Rate in 2010




National Rate in 2010











+ 1.6%

Allen County Rate/ 100,000 pop.



+ 2.5

State Rate in 2010




National Rate in 2010











  • STIs can lead to serious health problems if not diagnosed and treated early. Undetected and untreated STIs can increase a person's risk for human immunodeficiency virus infection and cause other serious health consequences, such as infertility. An estimated 24,000 women become infertile each year due to undiagnosed STIs.
  • According to the CDC, STIs cost the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs, placing both a significant human and economic burden on the United States.

What You Can Do


 As a health care provider:  

  • Talk to your patients about sexual health and take a sexual history.
  • Health professionals are frequently reluctant to recognize or investigate the sexuality of their older patients and a recent study revealed that safe sex awareness among older adults and its promotion by doctors is still lagging. Talk to your patients. 

As a parent:     

  • Get the facts and talk with your child. If you feel uncomfortable with the medical part of this conversation, schedule an appointment with the doctor to get the conversation started. However, it is important for you to be able to discuss the issue on some level with your child, as this needs to be a series of conversations over the course of their development.

As a funder or public official:    

  • Ensure that programs that provide medical/health information to young people and older adults re-entering the dating scene are readily available.


Fast Facts is a collaboration of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and
United Way of Allen County 2-1-1
  Contact Deborah McMahan, MD or John Silcox
 c/o Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health