Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Young Adults

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Child Trends

This report categorizes the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among 18- to 26-year-olds and also provides insight into the attitudes of young adults on their own sexual health.

Fifteen percent of young adults had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the past year – 7 percent diagnosed with a positive STD test and 8 percent by medical staff – and of those testing positive, nearly three-quarters of the young adults did not perceive themselves at risk of having an STD. Of all respondents, 25 percent reported they would not even call to learn the results of their STD tests.

Researchers from Child Trends, a nonprofit research center aimed at improving outcomes for children, chalked up the lack of perceived risk among young adults in part to the fact that only 20 percent of those who tested positive reported experiencing symptoms related to the STD.

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