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.