LOS ANGELES, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Some 19 million people are infected with sexual transmitted diseases (STD) every year in the United States and an astonishing half of them are young people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday.
"Young women, African Americans, and gay and bisexual men are especially hard hit," said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "It is unacceptable that STDs remain such a widespread public health problem in the United States today."
Among STDs, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infects one in six in the nation.
"HSV-2 is a public health challenge that we, as a nation, cannot afford to ignore," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) and TB Prevention, said.
Most people infected with the diseases don't know they have them, raising risks for transmitting it to others, according to the CDC.
The prevalence of HSV-2 has remained stable, at about 17 percent of the U.S. population, since the last survey, which was done from 1999 to 2004.
"This stabilization in herpes rates follows a period of declining prevalence, down from 21 percent for the years 1988 to 1994," La'Shan Taylor, an officer with the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service and author of the report, said.
HSV-2, one of the most common STDs in the United States, is a serious, incurable infection that lasts a lifetime, causing recurrent and painful genital sores, according to the CDC.
The new findings on herpes were based on data from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which involves households from across the country.