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Life Stages and Populations - STDs Test Center

Life Stages and Populations

Life Stages and Populations

Adolescents and Young Adults

While sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affect individuals of all ages, STDs take a particularly heavy toll on young people. CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year. The resources on this page provide information about the impact of STDs on youth as well as resources for reaching this population.

Adolescents, Technology and Reducing Risk for HIV, STDs and Pregnancy

Digital technology, including the internet, mobile phones, and gaming, increasingly influences the lives of adolescents. Among youth aged 12-17 years:
      • 93% are online
      • 75% have a mobile phone
      • 97% play video games
These technologies allow youth to engage in age–old behaviors such as chatting, flirting, and dating in novel ways. They also provide youth with anonymous avenues for seeking health information in general and sexual health, in particular.
While technology has changed the way in which teens interact and access information, they remain a vulnerable population when it comes to sexual risk.
      • The burden of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among people aged 15–24 years accounts for nearly half of all STDs reported in the U.S.
      • The U.S. pregnancy rate among youth aged 12–19 years is one of the highest in the developed world.
Adolescents are also especially vulnerable to sexual risk because they are undergoing rapid cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social development. Targeting youth who are using emerging digital technology is important for ensuring sexual health equity for adolescents.
This white paper is intended for practitioners and others who work with adolescents and provides an overview about the ways in which digital technology can be used to improve the sexual health of adolescents. It includes:
      • A brief summary of adolescent characteristics, including their demography, development, and sexual behavior

      • A basic overview of the new digital technologies and media that youth are using such as social networking sites, video sharing, blogs, instant messaging, mobile technology, and virtual worlds

      • An examination of technology’s potential for use in sexual health promotion, as well as the risks associated with misuse of digital technology.

      • Examples of innovative adolescent sexual health interventions that have used digital technology to improve their reach and effectiveness.

Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent an incredibly diverse community. However, these men are disproportionately impacted by syphilis, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The resources on this page provide an overview of the impact of STDs on MSM as well as prevention and treatment information.