There is no better analogy for untreated STDs than “penny wise, pound foolish”. Neglecting the treatment of an STD is like adding gunpowder to a time bomb that must explode eventually. The prevalence of STDs has become so real that it is only the ignorant-by-choice who knows nothing about it.
From the remotest village in Somalia to the most metropolitan city in the States, the echoes of the disease load of STDs are resoundingly heard by all. The rise in the incidence and the prevailing might of these venereal diseases have practically defied every technology and surveillance mounted by health professionals. The battle for supremacy has gone notches higher between wellness and health syndromes as efforts to preserve humanity intensifies.
Consequently, governments are continually seeking measures to reduce STDs and also save public money from unnecessary depletion. The more they strategize, the more STDs become evasive. Everyone has acknowledged them beyond every doubt, as a huge economic burden to the world, and more specifically to the United States.
STDs cut across tribes, races, nationalities, religions, and socioeconomic statuses considering that everyone is at a risk of contracting one sexually transmitted disease or the other. Oftentimes, STDs result from the action of not only a single organism but of the collective action of certain infectious organisms that were contracted sexually. For example, a pelvic inflammatory disease can arise from the actions of sexually transmitted bacteria including Neisseria gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis.
More women are getting infected and yet many more are unaware that they have contracted an STD. STDs are generally without striking symptoms and become noticed when complications arise from their untreated forms. Many women pay the price with their fertility, through ectopic pregnancies and severe pain in the pelvic region.
Others transmit the disease to their unsuspecting partners who favor condom-less sexual intercourse. Pregnant women infected with STDs pass on the infection to their unborn babies and these infected babies suffer the ill-consequences with throughout their lives with disfigurements to show for it.
Men who have sex with men are the worst hit population infected with STDs. Young adults between 15 and 29 years of age for both male and female populations are targets for STDs and interestingly, these ones make up a good percentage of the workforce in the country.
Economic Impact Of STDs
STDs have direct and indirect impact on the economy with respect to costs the diseases rack up rapidly.
Directly, government, individuals, and private insurance firms incur expenditures for health care services by paying health professionals, by investing in, and paying for laboratory services as well as in pharmaceuticals and hospitalizations for STDs when their workers are involved. Resources sunk into special education, rehabilitation programs, and residential care are also direct costs of STDs.
Indirectly, individuals who can no more be effective in their job performance due to ill-health and disabilities from STDs have become burdens to the economy of the nation. Indirect costs also include premature deaths, time spent in a test center or doctor’s office, time used in traveling for treatment and for filling prescription forms, etc. A family can be thrown into unexpected debt or poverty when their breadwinner falls into sickness caused by a complicated STD.
In 1994, the direct and indirect costs of STDs in the United States were nearly 17 billion dollars. That amount of resource would have been available for other purposes if they were not used on STDs. Jonathan H. Mermin of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention told the press in 2017 that STD rates are rising and if services are not mobilized, rebuilt, and expanded upon, the economic burden of STDs will continue to grow.
Prevention of complicated STDs has become effective and a better deal in combating the diseases. About 94 million dollars are spent annually on awareness programs for STD prevention and screening. The CDC recommends that screening is done:
- Annually, for chlamydia and gonorrhea for sexually active women 25 years old or younger and older women who have many sex partners or a sex partner with an STD.
- Annually, for HIV in persons who partake in unsafe sex or share injection needles and syringes.
- Annually, for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV for all sexually active men who have sex with men and every 3 to 6 months for men who have sex with men with many or anonymous sexual partners.
- Annually, for trichomoniasis for all HIV infected women.
- Compulsorily, for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B virus in all pregnant women as well as for gonorrhea in at-risk pregnant women.
The economic burden of sexually transmitted diseases has become subduing and even as concerned persons and organizations are doing all they can to keep people safe, it is left for every single person to decide to do away with STDs and their complications.
Getting tested is one of such recommended steps.