Safe Sex Statistics

21 Key Safe Sex Statistics in 2024: Facts & Trends

Published on: August 5, 2023
Last Updated: August 5, 2023

21 Key Safe Sex Statistics in 2024: Facts & Trends

Published on: August 5, 2023
Last Updated: August 5, 2023

Safe sex is a smart way to enjoy sex without the risks.

We have researched and gathered key safe sex statistics for 2024 and why it’s important to engage in safe sex practices. 

Today, the rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) requires raising awareness about taking better care to engage in safe sex.

With younger people engaging in sex these days, it’s important to educate them on how to be safe before they decide to have sex. 

Sex education is one of the ways schools are attempting to get ahead of STI issues and unwanted pregnancies.

While that is beneficial, it doesn’t eliminate the problem. 

Without further ado, let’s talk about safe sex and the risks of not using safe sex practices. 

Resource Contents show

Key Statistics

  • In 2022, there were an estimated 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States.
  • The most common STDs in the United States are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and human papillomavirus (HPV). 
  • Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States, with an estimated 1.7 million new cases in 2022. 
  • Gonorrhea is the second most common STD in the United States, with an estimated 820,000 new cases in 2022.
  • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with an estimated 80 million people (about twice the population of California) infected. 
  • Unprotected sex is the leading cause of STDs. 
  • Latex condoms are the most effective way to prevent STDs.
  • The risk of getting an STD is lower when you have sex with someone who is in a monogamous relationship and has been tested for STDs.
  • You can get an STD from oral, anal, and vaginal sex. 
  • You can get an STD from sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia. 

Safe Sex Statistics in 2024: STDs and STIs

Safe Sex

1. In 2022, There Were an Estimated 20 Million New Cases of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in The United States. 

According to 2022 statistics, an estimated 20 million new STIs (sexually transmitted infections) occur each year in the United States.

A few results from a KFF poll revealed that around 36% of American adults are aware of how common STIs are becoming.

Another 13% understand that more than 50% of the United States population is at risk of STIs during their lifespan.

(KFF, NIH)

2. The Most Common STDs in The United States Are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). 

Chlamydia (4), HPV (1), and gonorrhea (6) are among the top 8 STIs in the United States.

Just over half of American adults (54%) said they know someone with an STD in a KFF poll. 

(KFF, Very Well Health)

3. Chlamydia Is the Most Common STD in The United States, with An Estimated 1.7 Million New Cases in 2022. 

Not only are an estimated 1.7 million new cases of chlamydia reported in the United States as of 2022, this STI is one of the most common across the globe.

The clinical name for this STI is chlamydia trachomatis, and is usually abbreviated at CT.

(NIH 2) 

4. Gonorrhea Is the Second Most Common STD in The United States, with An Estimated 820,000 New Cases in 2022.

Gonorrhea, also crudely referred to as “the clap”, is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium.

It can be spread via any form of sexual contact with male or female genitalia of an infected partner.  

(Women’s Health Magazine)

5. HPV Is the Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infection in The United States, with An Estimated 79 Million People Infected. 

The HPV infection affects 79 million (about twice the population of California) people in the United States. HPV is short for human papillomavirus.

It’s estimated that around 80% of women will be infected with the HPV virus in their lifetime. 

(OASH)

6. Unprotected Sex Is the Leading Cause of STDs. 

People who have unprotected sex are at higher risk of getting an STD or STI. Condoms can significantly decrease the risk, though that’s not a 100% guarantee.

Also, the inconsistent and improper use of condoms also increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

(Mayo Clinic)

7. Latex Condoms Are the Most Effective Way to Prevent STDs. 

Latex condoms are not a 100% preventive for STIs or STDs. However, the proper and consistent use of condoms can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

Studies show that with the proper use of condoms, you can reduce the risk of HIV, HPV, and STDs associated with these infections.

According to the CDC, more studies and research are needed to learn more about the efficacy of condoms for preventing STDs.

(CDC) 

8. The Risk of Getting an STD Is Lower when You Have Sex with Someone Who Is in A Monogamous Relationship and Has Been Tested For STDs.

The risk of being infected with an STD or STI is reduced the most by being in a monogamous relationship where partners have been tested for any STDs.

If nothing else, monogamy is one of the best options for preventing or reducing the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections.

(CDC 2, Very Well Health 2)

9. You Can Get an STD from Oral, Anal, and Vaginal Sex. 

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections are transmitted orally, vaginally, and anally.

Therefore, any sexual contact can put you at risk for an STD.

You can even get a throat or mouth infection from oral sex if your partner has an STD. 

(CDC 3)

10. You Can Get an STD from Sharing Needles or Other Drug Paraphernalia. 

STDs and blood borne infections are spread through the sharing of syringes or needles used to inject drugs.

HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C are all spread through intravenous needle use.

Therefore, people who use injectable illicit drugs are highly likely to spread certain STDs.

(Rhode Island Department of Health)

11. Certain STDs Can Be Transmitted to A Newborn During Childbirth.

There are some STIs that can be transmitted during pregnancy, during childbirth, or via breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant, have a newborn, or are breastfeeding, you need to know this information.

Syphilis can cross through the placenta and infect a fetus intrauterine.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and hepatitis B can be transmitted during childbirth through the birth canal.

HIV can be transmitted during delivery or during pregnancy. 

(NIH 3)

12. Untreated STDs Can Result in Major Health Problems or Can Even Be Fatal.

STDs and STIs that are left untreated can create future and serious life-altering health conditions and can even be fatal.

For example, untreated HPV can result in blindness, anal cancer, cervical cancer, kidney damage, heart damage, or dementia.

Other STDs like HIV and syphilis can be fatal. Furthermore, untreated STDs can cause fertility issues. 

(Embryo Women’s Health, Las Vegas OBGYN Center)

13. There Is No Cure for HPV, but There Are Vaccines that Can Help Prevent Infection. 

While there is no cure for HPV, there are three vaccines that can help prevent it.

Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix are three vaccines that can help to prevent the HPV infection.

These three are the only ones licensed in the United States.

Since there are several types of HPV infections, you need to know which vaccines are used to prevent each type.

(NIH 4)

14. There Is No Cure for Herpes, but There Are Medications that Can Help Manage the Symptoms. 

Herpes is a life-long infection and health challenge with no preventative measure or cure. However, the symptoms of herpes can be treated using antiviral medications.

Research for creating a vaccine to prevent herpes is ongoing, but thus far, nothing is available to the public. Over half of respondents said they know that genital herpes isn’t curable in a KFF poll.

(Medical News Today)

15. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Are Both Curable with Antibiotics.

There is a lot of information out there that says chlamydia and gonorrhea are incurable, but with early treatment and the right antibiotics and protocols, both are curable STDs.

Approximately 54% of KFF poll participants said they know that chlamydia is curable

. Another 56% responded that they know gonorrhea is curable and 45% understand that syphilis is curable

(KFF, WHO)

16. If You Think You May Have an STD, It Is Important to Get Tested. 

Not only should you get tested if you suspect you may have an STD, but  you also need to get tested if you’re sexually active.

Getting tested is especially important if you have sex with multiple partners and/or have unprotected sex.

You could have an STD and not know if, which results in the issues mentioned regarding untreated STDs.

(Mayo Clinic 2)

17. You Can Get Tested for STDs at Your Doctor’s Office or At a Local Health Clinic. 

Nowadays, the term STI is used more often than STD due to the stigma attached to the former term. However, these terms are still used interchangeably.

You can get tested at your doctor’s office or use your local clinics for confidential information and low-cost or free testing solutions. Getting tested is always confidential.

(Medical News Today 2)

18. 8% of Poll Participants Said that They Are Concerned with Contracting an STD Within the Year. 

In a KFF poll, 8% of participants claimed to feel concerned that they might contract an STD within the next year. Moreover, 20% of younger people aged 18 to 29 said they have these concerns.

In terms of ethnicity, 5% of Caucasian adults claim to be concerned about contracting an STI within the year, while 13% of African American and Hispanic adults (each) said the same thing.

(KFF)

19. The Age Group at The Highest Risk of STIs Is Aged 15 to 24.

The 15- to 24-year-old demographic age group is at the highest risk of getting an STI. However, all age groups are at some level of risk.

Sexually transmitted infections don’t discriminate in any way. 

(KFF) 

20. It’s Believed that Sex Health Education in Schools Has Its Benefits. 

According to the CDC, sexual health education for students encourages a delay in initiating sexual intercourse, having fewer sex partners, improved academic performance, fewer instances of unprotected sex, and an increase in condom and other protections.

(CDC 6)

21. Practicing Safe Sex After 50 Is as Important as It Is Among the Younger Generations.

Safe Sex

It’s less likely that a woman over 50 or over 60 is going to get pregnant, but that doesn’t mean safe sex isn’t an issue for Gen-X and Baby Boomers.

The risk of getting an STI after the age of 50 still comes with enough risk for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and hepatitis C to practice safe sex.

Using a condom or other protective option is recommended. 

(WebMD)

FAQs

Does HPV Only Affect Women?

HPV is not exclusively an STI for women as men can also be infected. This is not one virus, but a group of viruses with over 100 types included.

Those that infect the genital region are categorized as genital HPV.

What Are the Best Ways to Practice Safe Sex?

There are several ways to protect yourself when engaging in sexual activity.

Barriers like internal condoms, conventional Latex condoms, dental dams, or nitrile or Latex gloves can be effective for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. 

This is important for any kind of anal, vaginal, oral or any kind of sexual activity where sexual fluids can be passed.

Also, remember to not share sex toys and keep them clean.

Barriers are vital to protecting you and your partner from skin-to-skin contact and sexual fluids, both of which can spread STIs.

Keep in mind, while these are preventative methods, none of them are more than 98% effective. Be sure to use condoms correctly and take great care when engaging in sex. 

What Are Some Myths About Safe Sex?

This is a good question. There is a lot of misinformation about what can and cannot cause STIs. 

Oral sex is safe: While oral sex is safer than conventional sexual activities, the risk is still there due to the exchange of bodily fluids.

In fact, throat and mouth infections are possible, not to mention other viruses that may enter the body.

If a man pulls out before ejaculation, it’s safe sex: This may somewhat reduce the exchange of bodily fluids, there are still bodily fluids exchanged due to arousal when fluids are secreted.

Not only can this result in an unwanted pregnancy, but it can also put you at risk for an STI.

Only homosexual men get HIV: Anyone of any gender having sex with anyone else of any gender is still at risk for HIV if they are engaging in unprotected sex.

Conclusion

Practicing safe sex is important for everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or any demographic. 

It is the best way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. 

There are many ways to practice safe sex, including using condoms, dental dams, and female condoms.

It is also important to get tested for STIs regularly and to talk to your partners about your sexual health.

The statistics on STIs are sobering. In the United States, 1 in 5 people will get an STI at some point in their lives.

The most common STIs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and human papillomavirus (HPV). STIs can cause serious health problems, including infertility, cancer, and death.

The good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself from STIs.

By practicing safe sex and getting tested regularly, you can help keep yourself and your partners healthy.

Here are some tips for practicing safe sex:

  • Use condoms correctly and consistently.
  • Talk to your partners about your sexual health.
  • Get tested for STIs regularly.
  • Avoid having sex with people who have multiple partners.
  • If you think you may have an STI, get tested as soon as possible.

Safe sex statistics show that it is an important part of a healthy sex life.

By practicing safe sex, you can help ensure that you and your partners have a positive and enjoyable sexual experience.

Sources

CDCEmbryo Women’s HealthMayo Clinic 2
NIH 3Very Well HealthCDC 2
KFFMedical News TodayNIH 4
Very Well Health 2CDC 3Medical News Today 2
WebMDCDC 4Las Vegas OBGYN Center
NIHOASHWHO
Mayo ClinicNIH 2Rhode Island Department of Health
Women’s Health Magazine

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Written by Kelly Indah

I’m a statistics researcher here at EarthWeb with a special interest in privacy, tech, diversity, equality and human rights. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science and I have my Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.